COVID-19: ETHICAL CHALLENGES
COVID-19 has resulted in a global healthcare crisis. Besides, it has led to multiple crises—religious, pastoral, ethical, social, political, economic, etc. Research on Covid-19, especially research on vaccines, also has raised many ethical questions. This paper discusses various ethical challenges posed by Covid-19.
People belonging to all strata have been affected by Covid-19. However, the poor, the migrants and people working in the unorganised sectors have suffered the most. Covid-19 has its impact on the family as well. Many were happy to get the opportunity to spend more time together at home. At the same time, for many it has been a time of financial crisis. Covid-19 has also led to conflicts and quarrels among family members, depression, and in some cases even suicides. There have been also reports of increased domestic violence, and abuse of women and children. There are also indications of increased number of incest and sexual abuse of children, besides various forms of physical violence on them. Covid-19 has exposed lack of leadership in the world. As many experts have pointed out, one of the chief victims of COVID-19 may be democracy. Besides, community life has been severely affected by Covid-19. Covid-19 poses many challenges to theology: We need to develop a theology that makes lay people more mature and independent in their spiritual life. A Family-centred, People-centred theology and spirituality have to be developed. Theology of Suffering, Theology of Hope, etc. is to be given greater attention.
“Coronavirus: India’s Pandemic Lockdown Turns into a Human Tragedy,” BBC News, 30 March 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-52086274
“Covid: BBMP Officials Found Taking Bribes to Allot Reserved Hospital Beds in Bengaluru,” India Today, 4 May 2021, https://www.indiatoday.in/coronavirus-outbreak/story/bbmp-taking-bribes-allot-reserved-hospital-beds-bengaluru-1798882-2021-05-04.
“Covid-19: India Excess Deaths Cross Four Million, Says Study,” BBC News, 20 July 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-57888460
“Explained: How Covid-19 Crisis has Exposed India’s Growing Wealth Gap,” India Today, 28/29 April 2021, https://www.indiatoday.in/business/story/explained-how-covid-19-crisis-has-exposed-india-s-growing-wealth-gap-1795932-2021-04-28.
“Govt Says 10 Million Migrants Returned Home from March to June, Including those who Walked,” The Wire,14 May 2020, https://thewire.in/labour/govt-says-10-million-migrants-returned-home-from-march-to-june-including-those-who-walked
“India’s Excess Deaths during Covid-19 Pandemic up to 4.9 Million: Study,” Hindustan Times, 20 July 2021, https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/indias-excess-deaths-during-covid-19-pandemic-up-to-4-9-million-study-101626785505459.html.
“Mega-Rich Recoup COVID-Losses in Record-Time yet Billions will Live in Poverty for at Least a Decade,” Oxfam International, 25 January 2021, https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/mega-rich-recoup-covid-losses-record-time-yet-billions-will-live-poverty-least.
“Over 1 Crore Migrant Labourers Return to Home States on Foot during Mar-Jun: Govt,” The Hindu, 23 September 2020, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/over-1-crore-migrant-labourers-return-to-home-states-on-foot-during-mar-jun-govt/article32674884.ece
“The Impact of Covid-19 on Global Extreme Poverty,” Brookings, 21 October 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2020/10/21/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-global-extreme-poverty/
Anthony L. Fernandes, “Ethical Challenges in Healthcare Arising from the Covid-19 Pandemic,” Asian Horizons 14, 3 (September 2020) 747-767, at 765-76.
Aviral Anand, “Social Distancing and the Pandemic of Caste,” Wire, 24 March 2020, https://thewire.in/caste/social-distancing-coronavirus-caste-ambedkar
Deogratias Rwezaura, “Expressions of Faith in the Face of COVID-19,” Hekima Review: Journal of Theology, Governance and Peace Studies 62 (December 2020) 68-80, at 75.
Director-General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), circular No. DO. no.ECD/COVID19/Misc.,2020, July 2, 2020.
H. Harikrishnan, “Coronavirus, Social Distancing, and the Return to Caste-Apologists,” The News Minute, 30 March, 2020, https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/coronavirus-social-distancing-and-return-caste-apologists-121471
James F. Keenan, “Rethinking Humanity’s Progress in Light of Covid-19,” Asian Horizons 14, 3 (September 2020) 713-735, at 717.
John Chathanatt, “Covid-19 Pandemic and the Plight of the Poor in India,” Jeevadhara 50, 300 (November 2020) 35.
Jojo M. Fung, “Emptying Everywhere; Outflowing Within,” Asian Horizons 14, 2 (2020) 525-538.
Martin Lintner, “Covid-19 and Triage: A Medical Challenge, but not only That,” https://catholicethics.com/forum/covid-19-and-triage/
Mathew Illathuparampil, “Covid-19: Variegated Route Map of Ethical Questions,” Asian Horizons 14, 3 (September 2020) 736-746, at 740.
P. Sainath, “The Migrant and the Moral Economy of the Elite,” 22, India Today, June 8, 2020, 22,quoting India Today dated May 17th 2020
Paul, “Covid-19: Social Distancing and Lessons for Community Building,” 71.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women on 6April 2020, https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2020/4/statement-ed-phumzile-violence-against-women-during-pandemic
Precious Nihorowa, “Ecclesiology in Times of Crisis: Rethinking the Church amid the Covid-19 Pandemic,” Hekima Review: Journal of Theology, Governance and Peace Studies 62 (December 2020) 56-67, at 65.
Rahul Sima, “Covid 19 and the Challenges to Medical Research,” Jeevadhara 50, 300 (November 2020) 9-20. See also, Linda Hogan, “Covid-19 Law and Human Rights Observatory: Ethics and Vaccine Development,” https://tcdlaw.blogspot.com/2020/08/ethics-and-vaccine-development.html
Sahayaraj Stanley, “Responding to the Wounded Samaritan: Covid-19 and the Migrants’ Maladies,” Jeevadhara 50, 300 (November 2020) 24.
Saldanha, “Domestic Violence: A Shadow Pandemic within a Pandemic,” 47, 48-50.
Sanket Khati, “Did Social Distancing Legitimise Untouchability?” 19 February 2021, https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/opinion-did-social-distancing-legitimise-untouchability/374732.
Stan Chu Ilo, “Pandemic, Poverty, and Power: Thoughts on a Biosocial Ethics of Global Solidarity for Health,” https://catholicethics.com/forum/pandemic-poverty-and-power/
Stanislaus Alla, “Let Democracy Breathe Easy in India,” Jeevadhara 50, 300 (November 2020) 55.
Stanley, “Responding to the Wounded Samaritan: Covid-19 and the Migrants’ Maladies,” 24-25, 26-31.
Victor Paul, “Covid-19: Social Distancing and Lessons for Community Building,” Jeevadhara 50, 300 (November 2020) 71.
Virginia Saldanha, “Domestic Violence: A Shadow Pandemic within a Pandemic,” Jeevadhara 50, 300 (November 2020) 45.