During the COVID-19 pandemic, state governments adopted numerous policies that profoundly affected personal and public life. These policies involved difficult trade-offs between individual freedoms, economic interests, public health, and other values. The Enabling Ethical Analysis and Public Justification in State-Level Pandemic Responses in the United States project seeks to understand how these difficult and sometimes high-stakes policy decisions were made, and how they were communicated with the public.
We aim to learn from people in state government who experienced these challenges in real time, and to use their experiences to come up with actionable guidance that can be applied in future public health emergencies. This research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Greenwall Foundation.