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The COVID-19 Wicked Problem in Public Health Ethics: Conflicting Evidence, or Incommensurable Values?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The COVID-19 Wicked Problem in Public Health Ethics: Conflicting Evidence, or Incommensurable Values? / Camporesi, Silvia; Angeli, Federica; Dal Fabbro, Giorgia.

In: Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 27.05.2021.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Harvard

Camporesi, S, Angeli, F & Dal Fabbro, G 2021, 'The COVID-19 Wicked Problem in Public Health Ethics: Conflicting Evidence, or Incommensurable Values?', Humanities and Social Sciences Communications.

APA

Camporesi, S., Angeli, F., & Dal Fabbro, G. (Accepted/In press). The COVID-19 Wicked Problem in Public Health Ethics: Conflicting Evidence, or Incommensurable Values? Humanities and Social Sciences Communications.

Vancouver

Camporesi S, Angeli F, Dal Fabbro G. The COVID-19 Wicked Problem in Public Health Ethics: Conflicting Evidence, or Incommensurable Values? Humanities and Social Sciences Communications. 2021 May 27.

Author

Camporesi, Silvia ; Angeli, Federica ; Dal Fabbro, Giorgia. / The COVID-19 Wicked Problem in Public Health Ethics: Conflicting Evidence, or Incommensurable Values?. In: Humanities and Social Sciences Communications. 2021.

Bibtex Download

@article{ff877c0c474a4f8f8bc2bd9b4502193d,
title = "The COVID-19 Wicked Problem in Public Health Ethics: Conflicting Evidence, or Incommensurable Values?",
abstract = "While the world is facing a rapidly progressing COVID-19 second wave, a policy paradox emerges. On the one side, much more is now known about the mechanisms underpinning the spread and lethality of Sars-CoV-2. On the other side, how such knowledge should be translated by policymakers into containment measures is much more controversial and debated now than during the first wave. Value-laden, conflicting views in the scientific community have emerged about both problem definition and subsequent solutions surrounding the epidemiological emergency, which underlines that the COVID-19 global crisis has evolved towards a full-fledged policy {\textquoteleft}wicked problem{\textquoteright}. With the aim to make sense of the seemingly paradoxical scientific disagreement around COVID-19 public health policies, we offer an ethical analysis of the scientific views encapsulated in the Great Barrington Declaration and of the John Snow Memorandum. We show that how evidence is interpreted and translated into polar opposite advice with respect to COVID-19 containment policies depends on a different ethical compass that leads to different prioritization decisions of ethical values and societal goals. We then highlight the need for a situated approach to public health policy, which recognizes that policies are necessarily value-laden, and need to be sensitive to context-specific and historic socio-cultural and socio-economic nuances.",
keywords = "covid, pandemic, public health, public health ethics, public policy, Wicked problems",
author = "Silvia Camporesi and Federica Angeli and {Dal Fabbro}, Giorgia",
year = "2021",
month = may,
day = "27",
language = "English",
journal = "Humanities and Social Sciences Communications",
issn = "2662-9992",
publisher = "Springer Nature",

}

RIS (suitable for import to EndNote) Download

TY - JOUR

T1 - The COVID-19 Wicked Problem in Public Health Ethics: Conflicting Evidence, or Incommensurable Values?

AU - Camporesi, Silvia

AU - Angeli, Federica

AU - Dal Fabbro, Giorgia

PY - 2021/5/27

Y1 - 2021/5/27

N2 - While the world is facing a rapidly progressing COVID-19 second wave, a policy paradox emerges. On the one side, much more is now known about the mechanisms underpinning the spread and lethality of Sars-CoV-2. On the other side, how such knowledge should be translated by policymakers into containment measures is much more controversial and debated now than during the first wave. Value-laden, conflicting views in the scientific community have emerged about both problem definition and subsequent solutions surrounding the epidemiological emergency, which underlines that the COVID-19 global crisis has evolved towards a full-fledged policy ‘wicked problem’. With the aim to make sense of the seemingly paradoxical scientific disagreement around COVID-19 public health policies, we offer an ethical analysis of the scientific views encapsulated in the Great Barrington Declaration and of the John Snow Memorandum. We show that how evidence is interpreted and translated into polar opposite advice with respect to COVID-19 containment policies depends on a different ethical compass that leads to different prioritization decisions of ethical values and societal goals. We then highlight the need for a situated approach to public health policy, which recognizes that policies are necessarily value-laden, and need to be sensitive to context-specific and historic socio-cultural and socio-economic nuances.

AB - While the world is facing a rapidly progressing COVID-19 second wave, a policy paradox emerges. On the one side, much more is now known about the mechanisms underpinning the spread and lethality of Sars-CoV-2. On the other side, how such knowledge should be translated by policymakers into containment measures is much more controversial and debated now than during the first wave. Value-laden, conflicting views in the scientific community have emerged about both problem definition and subsequent solutions surrounding the epidemiological emergency, which underlines that the COVID-19 global crisis has evolved towards a full-fledged policy ‘wicked problem’. With the aim to make sense of the seemingly paradoxical scientific disagreement around COVID-19 public health policies, we offer an ethical analysis of the scientific views encapsulated in the Great Barrington Declaration and of the John Snow Memorandum. We show that how evidence is interpreted and translated into polar opposite advice with respect to COVID-19 containment policies depends on a different ethical compass that leads to different prioritization decisions of ethical values and societal goals. We then highlight the need for a situated approach to public health policy, which recognizes that policies are necessarily value-laden, and need to be sensitive to context-specific and historic socio-cultural and socio-economic nuances.

KW - covid

KW - pandemic

KW - public health

KW - public health ethics

KW - public policy

KW - Wicked problems

M3 - Article

JO - Humanities and Social Sciences Communications

JF - Humanities and Social Sciences Communications

SN - 2662-9992

ER -

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