Discussion Board – pandemic ethics

Difficult Choices during a Pandemic

We are currently living through something that hasn’t happened in 100 years. In 1918, the Spanish flu affected the lives of millions of people, just like COVID-19 is doing today. Back then, as now, difficult choices had to be made concerning scarce resources, and how to weigh the possible consequences of those choices. Deciding who will live and who will die, as well as how much economic suffering should be balanced with the need of protecting people vulnerable to this disease are at their heart normative ethical decisions.

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As you read through the articles below on the kinds of ethical decisions we are making, think about the ethical systems we have studied this semester. Why did they make the ethical choices they made? Sometimes, this is spelled out in the articles (i.e. they will tell you which system they are using), sometimes not.

At the end of this course, if you can understand the ethical reasons and systems behind the choices that people make, you will be better prepared to think about them and discuss them intelligently and also perhaps offer alternate solutions to these types of terrible ethical dilemmas

Assignment Details

(Before starting this assignment, you will need to read the articles and watch the 2 videos. I have posted links for the two videos below.)

Using the resources linked in this module, identify at least one of the ethical systems we have studied in this course being used to determine who receives help during a pandemic. Quote from one of the resources to support your answer.

Next, discuss whether there might be another system or way to think about these difficult choices that must be made. There is no wrong answer, and because this is something that we are currently living through, please be careful to form your answers with tact and care since we all know someone who has been affected by these decisions. Your main post should be a minimum of 100 words.

Required reading

A Pandemic Vacation: New York Times, March 22, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/22/us/deniers-and-disbelievers-if-i-get-corona-i-get-corona.html

Deciding Who Will Live: New York Times, March 21, 2020 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/21/us/coronavirus-medical-rationing.html

Ethical Theories in a Pandemic: Quartz, March 19, 2020. https://qz.com/1821843/ethicists-agree-on-who-should-get-treated-first-for-coronavirus/

The Old Versus the Young: New York Times, March 26,2020 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/opinion/coronavirus-elderly-vulnerable-religion.html

Ageism: The Globe and Mail, April 13, 2020. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-human-rights-dont-have-a-best-before-date-covid-19-lays-bare/

video links Below

(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbuNvnailDY

(2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYrP14BhMXg

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