Ethics and pandemic policies: democracy in crisis

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, ethics guidance has valuably informed some health policies and practices, such as oversight of research and crisis standards of care. However it has been less effective at addressing broader questions about how we should live together in this and future pandemics. A recent report by the Hastings Center suggests that a key barrier to developing ethically informed health policies on major societal questions is the erosion of social cohesion driven by a lack of trust of both institutions and individuals. This trust deficit is a consequence of fundamental socioeconomic conditions marked by wealth inequality and widespread financial precarity, and changes to the information economy, including the rise of social media. This joint webinar hosted by Epidemic Ethics and the Hastings Center will explore the role of restoring societal decision-making capabilities, in order to rebuild trust, social cohesion and shape ethics-informed pandemic policies and responses.