RETHINKING HUMANITY’S PROGRESS IN LIGHT OF COVID-19
This article explores the present circumstances where we find ourselves astonished by our own inability to deal with the crisis more collectively and supportively. Through research data that highlights how inequity is driving the worst of this virus and then the oversight of major social commentators, we examine the present precarity of humanity, the need for greater solidarity and vulnerability, the danger of misinformation and scapegoating, and the call for the church to rearticulate its mission today. The article concludes reflecting on the evident confusion and distrust around the world and suggests that the way forward is to acknowledge our guilt for the inequities, our need for epistemic humility, and our pledge to recognize and accompany those most at risk.
“Global Governance for COVID-19 Vaccines,” The Lancet (London, England) 395, 10241 (2020) 1883, 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31405-7
“Humana Communitas in the Age of the Pandemic: Untimely Meditations on Life’s Rebirth,” 20Covid19%2022%20luglio/testo%20pdf/HUMANA%20 COMMUNITAS%20IN%20THE%20AGE%20OF%20PANDEMIC%20def%20ENG.pdf.
“L’Humana Communitas nell’era della Pandemia. Riflessioni inattuali sulla rinascita della vita,” Nota della Pontificia Accademia per la Vita July 22, 2020, http://www.academyforlife.va/content/ pav/it/the-academy/activity-academy/humana-communitas-in-the-age-of-pandemic-july-22-2020.html;
“WHO and UNICEF Warn of a Decline in Vaccinations during COVID-19” 15 July 2020, https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/15-07-2020-who-and-unicef-warn-of-a-decline-in-vaccinations-during-covid-19
Akaninyene Otu, Bassey Ebenso, Ronald Labonte, and Sanni Yaya, “Tackling COVID-19: Can the African Continent Play the Long Game?” Journal of Global Health 10, 1 (2020), https://www.ncbi. nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7182683/
Andrea Vicini, “Life in the Time of Coronavirus,” March 30, 2020 La Civiltà Cattolica https://www.laciviltacattolica.com/life-in-the-time-of-coronavirus/
Ann Danaiya Usher, “COVID-19 Vaccines for all?” The Lancet 395, 10240 (June 2020) 1822-1823, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31354-4.
Anne Celestine Achieng Oyier Ondigo, “Inequality, Covid-19, and Humanitarian “Ubuntu,” The First (June 1, 2020), https://catholicethics.com/ forum/inequality-covid-19/
Apolos Landa, “The Real Hero and the Real Challenge in the COVID-19 Era,” Christian Journal for Global Health 7, 1 (2020) 30–32, doi:10.15566/cjgh.v7i1.383.
Austin Horn, “U.N. Points to ‘Alarming Decline’ in Child Vaccinations.” National Public Radio (July 15, 2020), https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/07/15/891551846/ u-n-points-to-alarming-decline-in-child-vaccinations.
Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President at Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment,” The White House (October 12, 2015), https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2015/12/09/remarks-president-commemoration-150th-anniversary-13th-amendment.
Brendan Miller and Adam Westbrook, “‘That’s Ridiculous.’ How America’s Coronavirus Response Looks Abroad,” The New York Times, July 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/27/opinion/covid-19-global-response.html.
Bryan N. Massingale, “Conscience Formation and the Challenge of Unconscious Racism/Racial Bias,” Conscience in Catholicism: Rights, Responsibilities, and Institutional Policies, a conference held at Santa Clara University, September 10-12, 2014.
Bryan N. Massingale, “Conscience Formation and the Challenge of Unconscious Racism/Racial Bias,” David E. DeCosse and Kristin E. Heyer, ed., Conscience in Catholicism: Rights, Responsibilities, and Institutional Policies, Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2015, 53-68.
Carlo Calleja, “Lessons from the Past: Renewing Solidarity during the Current Pandemic,” La Croix (April 16, 2020), https://international.la-croix.com/news/ ethics/ lessons-from-the-past-renewing-solidarity-during-the-current-pandemic/12189.
Carol Glatz, “Not all in Same boat: Some Communities ‘Sink more Easily,’ Archbishop Says,” Catholic News Service, July 22, 2020, https://www.catholicnews. com/services/englishnews/2020/not-all-in-same-boatsome-communities-sink-more-easily-archbishop-says.cfm
Christopher Peak, “Failing to Protect Black Lives: How Washington, D.C., Mishandled its Response to the Coronoavirus,” APMreports, July 15, 2020, https://www.apmreports.org/story/2020/07/15/washington-dc-response-to-coronavirus; Katherine J. Wu, “Study of Coronavirus in Pregnant Women Finds Striking Racial Differences,” New York Times, July 10, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/10/health/coronavirus-race-pregnancy.html.
Faheem Ahmed, Na’eem Ahmed, Christopher Pissarides, and Joseph Stiglitz, “Why Inequality could Spread COVID-19,” The Lancet Public Health 5, 5 (2020), e240, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(20)30085-2/fulltext?utm_campaign=tlcoronavirus20utm_source=twitterutm_medium=social
Francisco De Roux, “We Believed Ourselves Invincible,” Colombia News, (March 229, 2020) https://www.amazonteam.org/we-believed-ourselves-invincible-francisco-de-roux/
Francisco Ortega and Michael Orsini, “Governing COVID-19 without Government in Brazil: Ignorance, Neoliberal Authoritarianism, and the Collapse of Public Health Leadership,” Global Public Health (July 14, 2020) 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1080/ 17441692.2020.1795223.
G.G. Márquez, El amor en los tiempos del cólera, Barcelona: Bruguera, 1985.
Gabriela Lotta, Clare Wenham, João Nunes, and Denise Nacif Pimenta, “Community Health Workers Reveal COVID-19 Disaster in Brazil,” The Lancet (July 10, 2020), https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(20)31521-X.pdf.
Gavin Yamey, Marco Schäferhoff, Richard Hatchett, Muhammad Pate, Feng Zhao, and Kaci Kennedy McDade, “Ensuring Global Access to COVID-19 Vaccines,” The Lancet 395, 10234 (2020) 1405-1406, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30763-7
Giandomenico Mucci, “Papa Francesco e l’idea del Progresso,” Civilta Cattolica (August 1, 2020) https://www.laciviltacattolica.it/ articolo/papa-francesco-e-lidea-del-progresso/.
Heather Morrison, “Millennials Make their Voices Heard at San Diego Diocese’s Young Adult Synod,” National Catholic Reporter, November 14, 2019, https://www.ncronline.org/news/parish/millennials-make-their-voices-heard-san-diego-dioceses-young-adult-synod.
Human Rights Watch, “India: COVID-19 Lockdown Puts Poor at Risk,” March 27, 2020. https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/03/27/india-covid-19-lockdown-puts-poor-risk#
Inez Miyamoto, “COVID-19 Healthcare Workers: 70% are Women,” Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, (May 13, 2020) www.jstor.org/stable/resrep24863.
James F. Keenan, “Collective Conscience and Collective Guilt,” Christoph Böttigheimer und René Dausner, ed., VATICANUM 21 Erschließung und bleibende Aufgaben des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils für Theologie und Kirche im 21. Jahrhundert, Freiburg: Herder, 2016, 78-86.
James F. Keenan, “Examining Conscience: Ancient Wisdom on Judgment, Justice, and the Heart,” America 214, 11 (April 4-11, 2016) 15-17.
James F. Keenan, “The Arrested Development of the American Conscience,” America, January 2, 2017, https://www.americamagazine.org/arts-culture/2016/12/22/arrested-development-american-conscience
James Keenan, “Vulnerability and Hierarchicalism,” Asian Horizons 14, 2 (2020) 319-332.
Jeanne M. Santoli, “Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Routine Pediatric Vaccine Ordering and Administration—United States, 2020,” MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 69 (2020), https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6919e2.htm.
Jerome Amir Singh, “COVID-19: Science and Global Health Governance under Attack,” SAMJ: South African Medical Journal 110, 6 (2020) 1-2.
Jewel Gausman and Ana Langer, “Sex and Gender Disparities in the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Journal of Women’s Health 29, 4 (2020) 465-466, https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2020.8472
Jim Wallis, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, Ada, Michigan: Brazos Press, 2016.
Johann-Albrecht Meylahn, “Being Human in the Time of COVID-19,” HTS Theological Studies 76, no. 1 (2020) e1-e6, https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i1.6029.
Judith Butler, “Precarious Life, Vulnerability, and the Ethics of Cohabitation,” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy 26, 2 (2012) 134-151, at 142.
Julie Ricard and Juliano Medeiros, “Using Misinformation as a Political Weapon: COVID-19 and Bolsonaro in Brazil,” The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review (April 17, 2020), https://misinforeview.hks.harvard.edu/article/using-misinformation-as-a-political-weapon-covid-19-and-bolsonaro-in-brazil/
Karan Deep Singh and Jeffrey Gettleman, “India has ‘Paid a Price for Laxity’ in Fighting Virus—Many Cities and States Locking down again as New Infection Figures Hit Record Highs,” Irish Times (Dublin, Ireland), July 20, 2020: 6, https://infoweb-newsbank-com.eu1.proxy.openathens. net/apps/news/document-view?p=AWNB&docref=news/17C55461D9B669A8.
Kishinchand Poornima and Ajnesh Prasad, “The Impossibility of Social Distancing among the Urban Poor: The Case of an Indian Slum in the Times of COVID-19,” Local Environment 25, 5 (2020) 414-418, https://doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2020.1754375.
Klaus Demmer, Selbstaufklärung Theologischer Ethik, Paderborn: Ferndinand Schöningh, 2014.
Laurenti Magesa, “An Alternate View of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” The First (May 1, 2020), https://catholicethics.com/forum/alternate-view-on-covid/
Leighton Ku and Erin Brantley, “Widening Social and Health Inequalities During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” JAMA Health Forum 1, 6, e200721-e200721, https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767253
Lisa Fullam, The Virtue of Humility, Lewiston: Edwin Mellin Press, 2009.
Madikay Senghore, Merveille K Savi, Bénédicte Gnangnon, William P Hanage and Iruka N Okeke, “Leveraging Africa’s Preparedness towards the Next Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” The Lancet Global Health 8, 7 (2020), e884-e885, https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30234-5.
Margaret Douglas, Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi, Martin Taulbut, Martin McKee, and Gerry McCartney, “Mitigating the Wider Health Effects of Covid-19 Pandemic Response,” British Medical Journal (Online) 369 (2020) m1557, https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1557.
Margaret Farley, “Ethics, Ecclesiology, and the Grace of Self-Doubt,” James J. Walter, Timothy E. O’Connell, and Thomas A. Shannon, ed., A Call to Fidelity, Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2002, 55-77.
Meghan J. Clark, The Vision of Catholic Social Thought: The Virtue of Solidarity and the Praxis of Human Rights, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014.
Michael Sean Winters, “Bishop McElroy’s Hopeful Vision for a Church Transformed,” National Catholic Reporter July 20, 2020, https://www.ncronline.org/ news/opinion/distinctly-catholic/bishop-mcelroys-hopeful-vision-church-transformed.
Mohamed Buheji, Katiane da Costa Cunha, Godfred Beka, B. Mavric, Y. L. de Souza, S. Souza da Costa Silva, Mohammed Hanafi, and T. Chetia Yein, “The Extent of Covid-19 Pandemic Socio-economic Impact on Global Poverty: A Global Integrative Multidisciplinary Review,” American Journal of Economics 10, 4 (2020) 213-224, DOI: 10.5923/j.economics.20201004.02.
Mohammad Karamouzian and Navid Madani, “COVID-19 Response in the Middle East and North Africa: Challenges and Paths Forward,” The Lancet Global Health (July 2020), e886-e887, https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30233-3.
N. Van Gelder, A. Peterman, A. Potts, M. O’Donnell, K. Thompson, N. Shah, and S. Oertelt-Prigione, “COVID-19: Reducing the Risk of Infection might Increase the Risk of Intimate Partner Violence,” EClinicalMedicine 21 (2020), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100348
Neeraj Bhala, Gwenetta Curry, Adrian R. Martineau, Charles Agyemang, and Raj Bhopal, “Sharpening the Global Focus on Ethnicity and Race in the Time of COVID-19,” The Lancet 395, 10238 (2020) 1673-1676, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31102-8.
Nina Mendez-Dominguez, Alberto Alvarez-Baeza, and Genny Carrillo, “Demographic and Health Indicators in Correlation to Interstate Variability of Incidence, Confirmation, Hospitalization, and Lethality in Mexico: Preliminary Analysis from Imported and Community Acquired Cases During COVID-19 Outbreak,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, 12 (2020) 4281, https://doi.org/10.3390/ ijerph17124281.
Osamu Takeuchi, “What Message is COVID-19 Sending us,” The First (June 1, 2020), https://catholicethics.com/forum/what-message-is-covid-19-sending-us/.
Owen Dyer, “Covid-19: Trump Sought to Buy Vaccine Developer Exclusively for US, Say German Officials,” BMJ: British Medical Journal (Online) 368 (2020), DOI:10.1136/bmj.m1100
Paul Strom, Conscience: A Very Short Introduction, New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia (March 19, 2016), https://w2.vatican.va/content/ dam/francesco/pdf/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20160319_amoris-laetitia_en.pdf.
Pope Paul VI, Progressio Populorum (March 26, 1967) http://www.vatican.va/ content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_26031967_populorum. html.
Ravina Kullar, Jasmine R. Marcelin, Talia H. Swartz, Damani A. Piggott, Raul Macias Gil, Trini A. Mathew, and Tina Tan, “Racial Disparity of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in African American Communities,” The Journal of Infectious Diseases (2020), https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiaa372.
Reis Thebault, Andrew Ba Tran, and Vanessa Williams, “The Coronavirus is Infecting and Killing Black Americans at an Alarmingly High Rate,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/07/coronavirus-is-infecting-killing-black-americans-an-alarmingly-high-rate-post-analysis-shows.
Richard Cash and Vikram Patel, “Has COVID-19 Subverted Global Health?” The Lancet 395, 10238 (2020) 1687-1688, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31089-8.
Robert McElroy, Homily for Ordination of aux. Bishop Ramón Bejarano, July 14, 2020, https://www.thesoutherncross.org/news/homily-for-ordination-of-aux-bishop-bejarano-our-mission-must-not-be-one-of-recovery-but-of-transformation/
Rogério Gomes, “Covid-19: Algunas lecciones de ética de un Virus...,” Studia Morale 58, 1 (2020) 15-26.
Roxanne Nelson, “COVID-19 Disrupts Vaccine Delivery,” The Lancet Infectious Diseases 20, 5 (2020) 546, https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30304-2
Scott Greer, Elizabeth J. King, Elize Massard da Fonseca, and Andre Peralta-Santos, “The Comparative Politics of COVID-19: The Need to Understand Government Responses,” Global Public Health (June 20, 2020) 1-4, https://doi.org/ 10.1080/17441692.2020.1783340.
Shakil Ahmed, M. Omar Khaium, and Fabeha Tazmeem, “COVID-19 Lockdown in India Triggers a Rapid Rise in Suicides due to the Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: Evidence from Media Reports,” International Journal of Social Psychiatry (2020), https://doi.org/10.1177/0020764020938809.
Sharon Bong, “New Normal, Old Gender Norms in the Time of Coronavirus,” The First (May 1, 2020), https://catholicethics.com/forum/new-normal-old-gender-norms/.
Shikha Garg, Lindsay Kim, Michael Whitaker, Alissá O’Halloran, Charisse Cummings, Rachel Holstein, Mila Prill, et al, “Hospitalization Rates and Characteristics of Patients Hospitalized with Laboratory-confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019—COVID-NET, 14 states, March 1-30, 2020,” MMWR, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 69, 15 (2020) 458–64, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6915e3, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/ volumes/69/wr/mm6915e3.htm.
Stephanie Nebehay and Michael Shields, “World Leaders Launch Plan to Speed Covid-19 Drugs, Vaccine; U.S. Stays away,” Reuters April 24, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-who/world-leaders-to-launch-who-covid-19-plan-but-u-s-wont-take-part-idUSKCN2261M7
Talha Burki, “COVID-19 in Latin America,” The Lancet Infectious Diseases 20, 5 (2020) 547-548, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30303-0.
Teresia Hinga provides a remarkable meditation on hand-washing in the Global North as opposed to the Global South in “Covid-19’s WASH Factor - A Solution for the Syndemic?,” The First (July 1, 2020), https://catholicethics.com/forum/covid-19-wash-factor/.
Toshiko Kaneda and Lori S. Ashford, “Sub-Saharan Africa’s Demographic and Health Characteristics Will Influence the Course of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” PRB Report (June 10, 2020), https://www.prb.org/sub-saharan-africas-demographic-and-health-characteristics-will-influence-the-course-of-the-covid-19-pandemic/
UN Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women (April 9, 2020, https://www. unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/ 2020/policy-brief-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-women-en.pdf?la=en&vs=1406
Vicki Xafis, “‘What Is Inconvenient for You Is Life-Saving for Me’: How Health Inequities are Playing out During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Asian Bioethics Review 12, 2 (2020) 223–34, https://doi.org/10.1007/s41649-020-00119-1.
Vikas Menon, Susanta Kumar Padhy, and Jigyansa Ipsita Pattnaik, “Stigma and Aggression Against Health Care Workers in India Amidst COVID-19 Times: Possible Drivers and Mitigation Strategies,” Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine (July 2020) 400-401, https://doi.org/10.1177/0253717620929241.
Whitney N. Laster Pirtle, “Racial Capitalism: A Fundamental Cause of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Inequities in the United States,” Health Education & Behavior (2020), doi: 10.1177/1090198120922942.
WHO, “COVID-19 and Violence against Women, What the Health Sector/System can do,” (29 April 29, 2020) https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/vaw-covid-19/en/