and as Americans—such as helping others in great need, making sacrifices, and generosity. These values, which are widely shared among different faith traditions and cultures, provide the grounding for more formal ethical principles like fairness and maximizing the number of lives saved. Furthermore, leaders need to articulate a vision of the proper role of government during a public health emergency. Acknowledging that people differ in how much power they believe government should have during ordinary times, leaders need to make the case that, during extraordinary times such as public health emergencies, special powers are needed. Leaders should also reassure the public that emergency powers will be cancelled as soon as the emergency passes.
In conclusion, ethical issues will be prominent in setting public health policies during the influenza pandemic. Public health officials will need to articulate the ethical reasoning that supports their policies and to develop a process for setting policy that is regarded as fair and participatory. Officials will need to explain why during a declared public health emergency restrictions on liberty and allocation of scarce health resources is ethically appropriate.
This work was supported by The Greenwall Foundation.
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