COVID-19 Ethics and Policy Insights and Resources

The Berman Institute of Bioethics is striving to ensure that the international public health response to COVID-19 is ethically informed as well as effective.

Through years of experience and scholarship, and tested through multiple threatened and actual epidemics, scholars at the Berman Institute have led research to identify the ethical principles that should guide the actions of governments and other institutions in a moment like this. This website is a resource for sharing those ideas.

Looming Blood Shortage Raises Ethical Questions about Allocation
Berman Institute Director Jeff Kahn publishes NY Daily News commentary
Overview: Ethical Concerns in Responding to Coronavirus
Berman Institute experts discuss critical principles
Publishing During the COVID-19 Epidemic: Prompt Conclusions or Quality Studies?
Prof. Michael Erdek cautions against a rush to faulty judgment
An Approach for Rationing Care During the Pandemic
Faculty share insights from Berman Institute project in Washington Post commentary
No Visitors in the Hospital … Unless You’re in Labor?
Hecht-Levi Fellow Marielle Gross considers no-visit policies’ impact on patient care
An Ethical Framework to Guide Hospitals During COVID-19
Jeffrey Kahn Q&A about JHU-led project to guide hospitals through the ethics of resource allocation

Business Insider | April 2, 2020
“There’s Nothing About It that Will Feel Right:” Hospitals Are Gearing Up to Choose Which Patients to Save
Jeffrey Kahn was quoted

MPR News with Kerri Miller | March 30, 2020
The Ethics of How We Respond to the Spread of the New Coronavirus
Jeffrey Kahn was the featured guest

The Baltimore Sun | March 30, 2020
Maryland Prison System Confirms First Coronavirus Cases
Len Rubenstein was quoted

The Baltimore Sun | March 28, 2020
200 Hopkins Medical Faculty Pen Letter Asking Gov. Hogan to Protect Inmates from Coronavirus
Len Rubenstein led the effort and was quoted

Vox | March 27, 2020
The Debate Over Ending Social Distancing to Save the Economy, Explained
Ruth Faden was quoted

WYPR’s “On the Record” | March 27, 2020
Medical Ethics During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Ruth Faden was the featured guest

Baltimore Sun | March 27, 2020
Who Gets Lifesaving Care – and Who Doesn’t – When There’s a Crush of Coronavirus Patients?
Ruth Faden is quoted

New York Daily News | March 26, 2020
We Need an Ethics Transfusion: The Coronavirus Blood Challenge
Oped by Jeffrey Kahn

CNN | March 26, 2020
Hospitals Consider Changes to Do-Not-Resuscitate Situations Amid Pandemic
Nancy Kass is quoted

Reuters | March 26, 2020
A Daughter Learns in Voicemails that Coronavirus Has Killed Her Mother
Ruth Faden is quoted

USA Today | March 17, 2020
To Protect Inmates and the Nation from Covid-19, Release Offenders Who Pose No Threat
Oped by Brendan Saloner and Sachini Bandara

View more Faculty in the News

STAT News | March 17, 2020
Explaining a mass quarantine: What does it mean to ‘shelter in place’? And who has the power to call for it?
Nancy Kass is quoted

New Republic | March 16, 2020
The Risky Race for a Quick Coronavirus Vaccine

Jeffrey Kahn is quoted

France24 | March 17, 2020
Coronavirus could create bed shortage in US hospitals
Nancy Kass is quoted

Public Health On Call Podcast | March 16, 2020
Ethical Dilemmas Posed by COVID-19
Featuring Jeffrey Kahn and Nancy Kass

Axios | March 14, 2020
Coronavirus behind bars
March 14, 2020
Len Rubenstein is quoted

MV Times | March 13, 2020
Is Martha’s Vineyard a ‘safe haven’?
Ruth Faden is quoted

Axios | March 13, 2020
What the U.S. needs to learn from Italy’s coronavirus crisis
Alan Regenberg is quoted

Washington Post | March 12, 2020
U.S. hospitals may have to ration care during the pandemic. Here’s one approach
Commentary written by Ruth Faden and Alan Regenberg, with Lee Daugherty Biddison and Eric Toner

WHYY-FM | March 11, 2020
Privacy vs. public health: How Pa. and N.J. weigh disclosing coronavirus patient details
Jeffrey Kahn is quoted

Slate | March 10, 2020
Should Schools Close for COVID-19?

Ruth Faden is quoted

USA Today | March 6, 2020
Keeping coronavirus patients anonymous is crucial to battling the outbreak
Jeffrey Kahn is quoted

Prof. Jeremy Greene compares COVID-19 to past epidemics, shares the history of quarantines, and discusses what we will learn from today's experiences

Ruth Faden on Vox’s “Ezra Klein Show”
March 26, 2020

Jess Fanzo on Covid-19 and Food Systems
We desperately need to focus on the operation of food systems at the moment because we know that the quality and quantity of the food we eat is the number one risk factor in the prevention of general mortality and morbidity. If we forget the food system right now, the COVID-19 health crisis will unwittingly use the food system as a catapult to have an even bigger impact on the global burden of disease. Read the full blog at Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition.

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Media contact for the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics: Jamie Smith at 410-245-1106 or

Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
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