This is very welcome news, but the mass vaccination program is May not be enough To eliminate the virus, we need to turn our thoughts on the long-term management ethics of COVID-19.
One strategy is to aim for virus elimination in the UK.new Zealand Successful implementation of removal strategy It was in the early stages of a pandemic and is currently in the post-eradication stage.
The eradication strategy in the UK includes a mass vaccination program Strict restrictions on overseas travel Stop new cases and variants of the imported virus.However Government is reluctant Support the exclusion strategy given the importance of international trade to the UK economy.
One of the main options The purpose of the elimination strategy is to treat the coronavirus as follows: Endemic Aim for long-term control in the UK and to acceptable levels of the virus. However, adopting a long-term restraint strategy requires making social decisions about the harm we are and will not accept.
Freedom, equality, mortality trilemma
The first year of the pandemic taught us that without control, the coronavirus could lead to serious death and harm, including: Long COVID..But Evidence suggests Mitigation measures such as blockades, effective testing, tracking, and quarantine systems may be effective in reducing viral infections.
These measures have their own costs. The blockade severely restricted the freedom of citizens Various other harmsIncludes significant non-COVID mortality and morbidity.Recently model In the long run, it suggests that pandemic mitigation could lead to 100,000 non-COVID deaths.According to the figures in this model, death from the virus itself is about 54% of total deaths Outbreak in the UK.
Unvaccinated groups and those with a particularly high risk of death from COVID (65. However, these targeted strategies include unequal treatment and the potential for discrimination.
This is the fundamental trilemma of a long-term restraint strategy. The social decisions we make about acceptable levels of virus suppression include the choice of which of the three competing values must be prioritized and which must be compromised. You can maximize one or two of these values, but you cannot have all three.
It may be possible to reduce COVID mortality while maintaining equality, but if it is willing to accept future blockades, strict travel restrictions, and the associated potential need for freedom and cost to general health Limited to. The introduction of COVID certificates and passports may reduce COVID deaths while preserving the freedom of those who do not pose a risk of infection, but is willing to accept the inequality associated with such schemes. Only if.
Finally, we can give everyone in society as much freedom as possible, but the virus is otherwise adequately suppressed only if we are willing to accept the increased deaths from COVID. May be relevant if not.
Moral questions about suppression strategies are organized around the number of COVID deaths we should accept each year. This leads to a comparison between COVID and the annual death toll from other infectious diseases such as influenza, which causes less than 2 deaths per 100,000 people annually in European countries. After 2000And what we lived with in the past, like tuberculosis, killed about 100 people per 100,000 people a year. In England and Wales At the beginning of the 20th century.
These comparisons are clear because they provide a baseline of infectious disease deaths that we have historically found to be acceptable to live with.If you accept a bad flu year Over 22,000 If we die in the UK without imposing significant social restrictions, we will probably accept the same number of deaths at COVID.
However, these comparisons relate to only one of the key ethical values. In the context of COVID, in the absence of significant social restrictions and inequality, one may have to run the risk of increased deaths from COVID.
To determine what is acceptable in a suppression strategy, we must confront a fundamental conflict between the values of the COVID trilemma.
Author: Jonathan Pew-Researcher of Applied Moral Philosophy, University of Oxford | Dominique Wilkinson-Consultant Neonatologist and Professor of Ethics, University of Oxford | Julian Savulescu-Visiting Professor of Biomedical Ethics, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. A prominent visiting professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Melbourne.President of Practical Ethics, Oxford University Kamihiro
Learn to live with COVID
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