In the Media: Hastings Responds to COVID-19

Hastings Center research scholars have been talking with the press and writing on ethical issues raised by the coronavirus pandemic. Here is a selected roundup:

The New York Times cites and links to The Hastings Center’s ethics resource for health care institutions responding to COVID-19. Read the article. This resource was sent to hospitals and other medical professional associations across the country. 

Politico. Hastings Center president Mildred Solomon on The Hastings Center letter sent to Congress and the White House, demanding more government action against COVID-19. Nearly 1,400 bioethicists and health leaders signed the letter, imploring the administration  to use the Defense Production Act and other federal powers to secure supplies, cover Covid-19 treatments and protect the vulnerable. “Even the most conservative political theories recognize that governments do sometimes have to take directive actions and markets alone cannot solve these problems,”  Solomon told POLITICO. Read the article. Read more about The Hastings Center’s letter to Congress and the White House.

Hastings Center Report. “Responding to Covid-19: How to Navigate a Public Health Emergency Legally and Ethically,” by Lawrence O. Gostin, Eric A. Friedman, and Sarah A. Wetter. Read the article.

Scientific American. “Anthony Fauci Shows Us the Right Way to Be an Expert,” by Hastings research scholar Gregory Kaebnick. Read the article.

NPR “All Things Considered.” Research scholar Nancy Berlinger on the need for guidelines not just for determining which patients to treat but how long to treat them: “Let’s say a patient is on a ventilator but isn’t improving, and this patient might — might — do better if they were allowed to stay on the ventilator longer, but there are people waiting for that ventilator. Do you withdraw the ventilation earlier than you might normally do? So it’s not just who gets the vent — it’s also who stays on it.” Listen here.  

USA Today. Research scholar Nancy Berlinger on difficult choices that medical workers and family members often must make, compounded during a pandemic: “First come, first served is not the best way to make decisions about access to care. That would give priority to people who are diagnosed first. So we have to think that nobody is going to have an unlimited claim on a limited resource.” Read the article.

CNET. Research scholar Nancy Berlinger on the burden of COVID-19 on gig economy workers. “A crisis like this exposes every weak spot in our safety net,” she said. The article linked to the Hastings ethics resource on COVID-19. Read the article.

Medium. Research scholar Karen Maschke on COVID-19 vaccine trial that bypasses animal studies. Read the article.

Stat News. Hastings research scholar Karen Maschke on the ethics of breaking research ethics protocol with plans to test a COVID-19 vaccine in humans before testing it in animal test: “Even if researchers decide it’s worth forging ahead and testing a new vaccine’s safety in people while still figuring out whether it works to prevent infections in susceptible animals, they need to be ready to stop the human trial if the results don’t look good in mice,” she said. Read the article. Scientific American reposts the article.

The New York Times. Hastings Center senior advisor Rosemary Gibson on U.S. efforts to end dependence on China for drug supplies: “If China shut the door on exports of core components to make our medicines, within months our pharmacy shelves would become bare and our health care system would cease to function,” she said. Read the article.

The Nation. Hastings Center senior advisor Rosemary Gibson’s testimony to the Senate on potential risks to national security posed medical supplies from China threatened by the coronavirus pandemic. Read the article.

Published on: March 24, 2020
Published in: Covid-19

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The Hastings Center has never shied away from the toughest ethical challenges faced by society.


The Hastings Center has never shied away from the toughest ethical challenges faced by society.