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From the Editors: Learning from a Pandemic
Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted connections between health and social structural phenomena that have long been recognized in bioethics but have never really been front and center—not just access to health care, but fundamental conditions of living that affect public health, from income inequality to political and environmental conditions. In March, as the pandemic spread globally, the field’s traditional focus on health care and health policy, medical research, and biotechnology no longer seemed enough. The adequacy of bioethics seemed even less certain after the killing of George Floyd, whose homicide showed in an especially agonizing way how social institutions are in effect (and often intentionally) designed to make the lives of black people go poorly and end early. Whether bioethics needs to be expanded, redirected, and even reconceived is at the heart of the May-June 2020 issue of the Hastings Center Report, which is devoted to questions provoked by and lessons emerging during this pandemic.