The Ethics of Pandemics
  • Publication Date: August 15, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781554815449 / 1554815444
  • 140 pages; 6" x 9"

Note on pricing.

Ebook will also be available for purchase upon publication.

Exam Copy

Availability: Canada & the US

The Ethics of Pandemics

  • Publication Date: August 15, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781554815449 / 1554815444
  • 140 pages; 6" x 9"

Please note: An ebook version of this title will be available by August 2020 for $14.95.

A royalty on this book’s sales will be paid to Doctors without Borders to assist in the fight against COVID-19.

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on modern health care systems. Previous pandemics and other public health emergencies have helped to some degree in preparing society for the difficult political and ethical decisions required in response to this outbreak. However, many of the effects and issues now in the public eye were nearly impossible to predict. This collection of readings and case studies offers an overview of some of the most pressing of these issues, such as: the allocation of ventilators and other scarce resources, the curtailing of standard privacy measures for the sake of public health, and the potential obligations of healthcare professionals to continue operating in dangerous work environments. Where possible, established precedents and principles are connected to the novel concerns faced during the COVID-19 outbreak. Articles, editorials, case studies, and blog posts are thoughtfully compiled and presented here in a format designed to bring readers into the public discourse. Links to additional readings are provided on a companion website, which will be updated to reflect the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

This book can be purchased on its own, or it can be packaged with any other Broadview book at a discounted price of $10. If you wish to order a package, please contact your Broadview representative or customer service.


Public Health Ethics

  • 1. John Authers, How Coronavirus Is Shaking Up the Moral Universe
  • 2. Nuala P. Kenny, Susan B. Sherwin, & Françoise E. Baylis, Re-visioning Public Health Ethics: A Relational Perspective

Professional Responsibilities

  • 3. Udo Schuklenk, Health Care Professionals Are Under No Ethical Obligation to Treat COVID-19 Patients
  • 4. Abbey Lowe, Angela Hewlett, & Toby Schonfeld, How Should Clinicians Respond to International Public Health Emergencies?
  • 5. Seth Holmes and Liza Buchbinder, In a defunded health system, doctors and nurses suffer near-impossible conditions
  • 6. Case Study: Health Care without PPE

Public Adherence

  • 7. Tom Douglas, Flouting Quarantine
  • 8. Charles M. Blow, Social Distancing Is a Privilege
  • 9. Anthony Skelton, The Ethics of Vaccines
  • 10. Case Study: Choosing not to Vaccinate

Scarce Resource Allocation

  • 11. Ezekiel J. Emanuel et al., Fair Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources in the Time of Covid-19
  • 12. Angela Ballantyne, ICU triage: How many lives or whose lives?
  • 13. Jackie Leach Scully, Disablism in a time of pandemic
  • 14. Joseph J. Fins, Disabusing the Disability Critique of the New York State Task Force Report on Ventilator Allocation
  • 15. Franklin G. Miller, Why I Support Age-Related Rationing of Ventilators for Covid-19 Patients
  • 16. Shai Held, The Staggering, Heartless Cruelty Toward the Elderly
  • 17. Case Study: Machine Shortages: Who Should Live


  • 18. Shaun Ossei-Owusu, Coronavirus and the Politics of Disposability
  • 19. Ling San Lau, et al., COVID-19 in humanitarian settings and lessons learned from past epidemics
  • 20. Alex Broadbent & Benjamin T.H. Smart, Why a one-size-fits-all approach to COVID-19 could have lethal consequences
  • 21. Case Study: Staying in Business

Research Ethics

  • 22. Julian Savulescu, Is it Right to Cut Corners in the Search for a Coronavirus Cure?
  • 23. Nir Eyal, Marc Lipsitch, & Peter Smith, Human Challenge Studies to Accelerate Coronavirus Vaccine Licensure
  • 24. Kelly McBride Folkers & Arthur Caplan, False Hope About Coronavirus Treatments
  • 25. Case Study: Ethics and Global Research Programs

Surveillance and Privacy

  • 26. Derek Thompson, The Technology That Could Free America From Quarantine
  • 27. Maciej Cegłowski, We Need A Massive Surveillance Program
  • 28. Sean McDonald, Coronavirus: A Digital Governance Emergency of International Concern
  • 29. Case Study: Physician-Patient Privilege vs. Public Health Policy


  • 30. Conor Friedersdorf, Take the Shutdown Skeptics Seriously
  • 31. Arthur Caplan, The Price of Going Back to Work Too Soon
  • 32. Daniel Weinstock, A Harm Reduction Approach to Physical Distancing

Meredith Celene Schwartz has taught health care ethics and philosophy courses at Dalhousie University and Ryerson University. She is the author of Moral Respect, Objectification, and Health Care, co-author of Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia, and co-editor of Reading in Health Care Ethics, 3rd Edition (forthcoming).

  • • A royalty on this book’s sales will be paid to Doctors without Borders to assist in the fight against COVID-19.
  • • A concise overview of several key ethical issues relating to pandemics, including:
    • o Professional Responsibilities
    • o Scarce Resource Allocation
    • o Research Ethics
    • o Justice
    • o Surveillance and Privacy
  • • Useful as a supplement for ethical issues or health care ethics courses.
  • • Includes a mix of academic literature, original case studies, editorials, and blog posts.
  • • Illustrates the varied issues and arguments arising from the spread of COVID-19.
  • • Includes a general introduction, brief introductions to each topic, and discussion questions.
  • • A companion website provides links to a curated selection of further readings.

This book has a companion website providing links to additional readings. The site will be updated regularly to reflect developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.