Coronavirus 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.

eSchool+ Initiative
Formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to develop tools and resources for schools to think responsibly about caring for students during school closures and the reopening process
Grappling with the Ethics of Social Distancing
Positing a framework for evaluating social distancing policies and reopening plans
Ethics, COVID-19 & Africa
Exploring, from an African perspective, ethical challenges facing government, institutions, researchers, and the public in managing the pandemic
Digital Contact Tracing for Pandemic Response
Helping government, technology developers, businesses, institutional leaders and the public make responsible decisions around use of digital contact tracing technology to fight COVID-19
Essential Workers Project
Addressing the essential work of protecting at-risk essential workers during COVID-19
A Physician’s Open Letter to Hospital Visitors
Help ailing loved ones heal by staying away from them

NPR Morning Edition | May 27, 2020
In the Battle Against COVID-19, A Risk of “Vaccine Nationalism”
Nancy Kass was quoted

JHU Hub | May 26, 2020
Digital Contact Tracing Poses Ethical Challenges
Q&A with Jeffrey Kahn

JHU Hub | May 26, 2020
The Complex Ethics of Reopening America
Q&A with Justin Bernstein

Prescription for Change | May 18, 2020
“Moral Resilience Rounds:” Johns Hopkins’ Secret to Help Staff Navigate Moral Distress
Cynda Rushton was featured

NBC News | May 16, 2020
Wave of ‘vaccine nationalism’ hinders global efforts to halt coronavirus
Nancy Kass was quoted

MPR News | May 13, 2020
How do we decide? Ethics of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Jeffrey Kahn was the featured guest

The New York Times | May 10, 2020
How Pandemics End
Jeremy Greene was quoted

WYPR, “On the Record” | May 8, 2020
Caring for Those with COVID-19: A Doctor’s Experience
Zack Berger was the featured guest

USA Today | May 4, 2020
Teacher Appreciation Week: They Wanted Respect. It Only Took a Coronavirus Pandemic and Worldwide Economic Collapse
Ruth Faden was quoted

Colorado Public Radio | May 4, 2020
For Now, Antibody Tests for Coronavirus Provide Guidance, Not Guarantees
Travis Rieder was quoted

USA Today | May 1, 2020
Masks, Temperature Checks, Empty Rows: Post-Coronavirus Concerts Could Look Very Different
Travis Rieder was quoted

Bloomberg News | April 27, 2020
Covid-19 Threatens to Starve Africa
Commentary by Jessica Fanzo

Los Angeles Times | April 25, 2020
Could a ‘Controlled Avalanche’ Stop the Coronavirus Faster, and with Fewer Deaths?
Jeffrey Kahn was quoted

MSNBC | April 25, 2020
Reopening the Economy vs. Keeping It Shut Longer, What’s More Costly?
Nancy Kass was the featured guest

View more Faculty in the News

Freethink | April 25, 2020
Would You Volunteer to be Infected with COVID-19?
Ruth Faden was quoted

Daily Mail | April 25, 2020
House Lawmakers Join Growing Calls to Approve Controversial ‘Challenge Trials’ of Coronavirus Vaccines
Jeffrey Kahn was quoted

The Hill | April 24, 2020
Controversial Idea to Speed Coronavirus Vaccine Gains Ground
Jeffrey Kahn was quoted

OneZero | April 23, 2020
‘Immunity Passports’ Could Create A New Category of Privilege
Nancy Kass was quoted

Washington Post | April 22, 2020
Treat Health-Care Workers Like the Heroes They Are
Commentary written by Ruth Faden

WYPR-FM | April 22, 2020
The COVID-19 Threat in MD Prisons: Three Perspectives
Len Rubenstein was a featured guest

Washington PostApril 19, 2020
Hogan Signs Order to Release Inmates to Reduce Spread of Virus
Len Rubenstein is cited

MSNBC | April 18, 2020
Ethics of Coronavirus Testing
Nancy Kass was interviewed

Washington Post | April 17, 2020
Civil Rights Advocates Press Md. Gov. Larry Hogan to Release Elderly, At-Risk Prisoners to Slow Spread of Coronavirus
Len Rubenstein was quoted

The Atlantic | April 16, 2020
The People Who Risked Death for Immunity
Jeffrey Kahn was quoted

USA Today | April 16, 2020
Dr. Fauci Says Immunity ‘Certificates’ Possible After Coronavirus Pandemic. Here’s What That Means
Jeffrey Kahn was quoted

Los Angeles Times | April 15, 2020
So Much Is Unknown about the Pandemic because the Government  Keeps A Lid On It
Jeffrey Kahn was quoted

WYPR-FM | April 14, 2020
Drug Shortages During COVID-19 Patient Surge
Yoram Unguru was the featured guest

Associated Press | April 10, 2020
Nurses Weigh Their Principles vs Safety in Virus Fight
Cinda Hylton Rushton was quoted

Pandemics and Surgery: Orthopedic surgeon Casey Jo Humbyrd discusses ethical and other implications of conducting surgeries during the COVID-19 outbreak
On MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, Ruth Faden discussed the creation of a Healthcare Heroes Compensation Fund for essential workers killed by COVID-19
Jessica Fanzo was a panelist for Climate, Food Insecurity, and COVID-19 as the SNF Agora's Conversations series continues to examine the Politics and Policy of COVID-19
Jeffrey Kahn discusses questions with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs about COVID-19 immunity certificates, including ethical and legal issues and how effective immunity tests will be
See More Expert Insights

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.

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

Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
It’s Not Whether You Were Exposed to the Virus. It’s How Much.
Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
Global Food Ethics & Policy Program Weekly Roundup: Food Systems Dashboard, Public-Private Partnerships, Healthy=Co…
Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
New Paper: Views among Malawian women about joining HIV prevention clinical trials when pregnant | AIDS Research an…
Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
A Brief History of Medical Face Masks
Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
As COVID Cuts Deadly Path Through Indiana Prisons, Inmates Say Symptoms Ignored via @khnews