COVID-19 Ethics: Health, Inequality, and Justice

Resources for Research, Practice, and Teaching

The COVID-19 pandemic lays bare the enduring fault lines of inequity in our society, reminding us of the deadliness of systemic and institutional racism, poverty, and injustice.  Addressing disparities of the pandemic must begin by confronting racial violence as witnessed most recently in the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. The stark disparities of coronavirus are inextricable from the lived experience of racial inequality in the US.

We have built this site to marshal scholarly work in the social sciences and humanities to bear directly on ethical issues of equity and justice. We include references published during the COVID-19 disaster that examine the pandemic’s unfolding in the context of racism and other key social determinants of health, critical perspectives on resource allocation and triage justice, and previously published social histories that offer lessons on pandemics of the past.

Crisis can powerfully reveal a society’s core values and principles. We must refuse to accept the injustices of racism that determine who suffers and dies in New York City, our broader society, and across the globe. We hope that these resources, which will be updated routinely, will be used broadly in research, teaching, response, and action to reduce disparities in health, wealth, and human worth that affect us all.

Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, PhD, Chief, Division of Ethics

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