Ethical theories to Discuss the Approaches to Handling the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Ethical theories to Discuss the Approaches to Handling the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Crafting effective approaches to address the COVID-19 global pandemic needs careful ethical and moral reasoning. Amid debates of what next, countries have been weighing on the matter significantly. Several theories, including utilitarianism and ethics of care, can be applied to the approaches used to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilitarianism judges the wrongness or rightness of each particular action according to whether that act produces a world of more excellent total utility than any alternative act or inaction (Adhariani, Sciulli & Clift, 2017). The COVID-19 pandemic has forced healthcare systems to focus more on utilitarianism with greater emphasis on promoting the health of populations and communities. The approaches used by governments, including lockdowns and travel restrictions, are constructed to follow the interest of the population at large. They maximize the net benefit of society in general. Another theory that can be applied in this context is ethics of care. Care ethics is a subset of virtue ethics. It pays attention to personal relationships, which should always be preserved based on people’s moral decisions. An example of when ethics of care provides a better answer is the approaches used by healthcare providers to save many lives during the COVID-19 pandemic (Branicki, 2020). Ethics of care would advise healthcare providers to honor the caring relationship they have with the patients and their decisions on meeting their needs during the crisis period.

Countries have implemented different ways of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, with the most common approaches being lockdowns, social distancing, restriction of movements, and wearing protective masks. These approaches have significant ethical implications for individuals and society in general. Among the major ethical implication of these approaches is the reduction of hum to hums infections. Governments are justified to limit freedoms and the exercise of liberty for the greatest good and especially if the exercise can cause public health harm like spreading infections. The approaches bear ethical principles, which are important and have intrinsic value in ensuring that the adopted measure is effective.


Adhariani, D., Sciulli, N., & Clift, R. (2017). An introduction to the ethics of care. In Financial management and corporate governance from the feminist ethics of care perspective (pp. 17-48). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Branicki, L. J. (2020). COVID‐19, ethics of care and feminist crisis management. Gender, Work & Organization, 27(5), 872-883.

Question 2: Biases in terms of How Leaders or Individuals Have Handled or Reacted to the Covid-19 Pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed the public health system and highlights the issue of implicit and explicit bias in terms of how leaders and individuals handle or react to the crisis. When the pandemic began, the federal government of the U.S explicitly recommended that people with developmental and intellectual disabilities should be viewed as ineligible to access ventilators (Halpern, Truog & Miller, 2020).  Nonetheless, medical staff has been in a constant dilemma of choosing who to save with their overloaded systems. In the U.K, if individuals have symptoms of COVID-19 and are over 90, they are banned from visiting the hospital. In France, if two patients arrive in the hospital at the same time resources, will be diverted to the person that has the most chance of survival. Thus, there is bias in saving those that can be saved.

Racial bias is also evident in the way some leaders and individuals handle the pandemic. Racial bias is a subset of tribalism biases based on people’s group identity. Humans tend to form groups and then favor those that belong to their group and reject those that are not. The increasing rate of racial bias towards Asian communities results from the surge of COVID-19 in many countries. In the United States, harassment and discrimination towards Asian communities have increased since they are mostly blamed for the COVID-19 pandemic and the deaths of many people. According to research conducted by the Stop AAPI Hate organization, there have been more than 1000 physical and verbal attacks on Asian people over the last few months (Zhou, 2020). This was significantly spiked by the former United States President Donald Trump, who continuously made biased and xenophobic comments on Twitter by associating Asians with the Coronavirus. Despite racial bias against Asian Americans in the past, COVId-19 has made the issue symptomatic worldwide. Asians living in countries that have majorly been affected by COVID-19, like Italy and Brazil, have reported racial bias, xenophobia, and racism.


Halpern, S. D., Truog, R. D., & Miller, F. G. (2020). Cognitive bias and public health policy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jama, 324(4), 337-338.

Zhou, L. (2020, April 21). Coronavirus is surfacing America’s deep-seated anti-Asian biases. Retrieved from

Question 3: Fallacies have Arisen During the Discussions of the Covid-19 Pandemic?

With the increase of debates on the COVID-19 pandemic, several fallacies have arisen during the discussions—one of the major logical fallacies in false dilemma (Lin et al., 2020). There is a global narrative concerning the virus that causes COVID-19. The narrative states the virus is linked to the common flu, with its mortality mostly affecting the elderly and immunocompromised. This belief has left many people feeling they are disposable. However, these assumptions were proven wrong when COVID-19 led to many deaths, including the younger people and those with stronger immunities. It is a false dilemma to say that COVID-19 is performing the natural selection.  Natural selection works by individuals with beneficial traits having more surviving offspring in the next generation. Looking at morality and what is good for society, letting people die from COVID-19 ignores the contribution to society that those people make: helping others, musical talent, math talent, running a business, and many more. This false dilemma has, as an unspoken assumption, that an individual will not be one of those that die from COVID-19. It creates a belief that individuals even think they will not get sick.

Another common fallacy evident in the COVID-19 discussions is the red herring. Recently some online content concerning whether COVID-19 causes sterility was removed. This followed the issues about vaccines in Africa and lawsuits related to Bill Gates. Most people believed that these issues had to do with COVID-19 vaccines’ connection to infertility. This is a significant example of the red herring fallacy. A red herring fallacy is any relevant argument that distracts people from the point at hand (Lin et al., 2020). The debate concerning the lawsuits involving Bill Gates and removing information distracts individuals from the main concern related to infertility issues arising from COVID-19 vaccines. While addressing this issue, individuals must pay attention to the question related to the safety of the vaccine rather than the tangential debates related to lawsuits and online information.


Lin, T. P., Wan, K. H., Huang, S. S., Jonas, J. B., Hui, D. S., & Lam, D. S. (2020). Death tolls of COVID-19: Where come the fallacies and ways to make them more accurate. Global Public Health, 15(10), 1582-1587.

                                Question 4: Concepts from the CSR Lecture Materials       

One of the most critical concepts from the CSR lecture materials is reputation management. This concept can be applied to how organizations are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Reputation management is the effort of influencing how and what people think towards a particular brand or product. The goal of reputation management is to influence a person or company (Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The impact of Coronavirus is felt across all sectors, and if an individual’s business is into hospitality, travel, entertainment, food, they might be the worst affected due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, the ripples might be felt across other sectors as well due to the interdependence of industries. Small businesses have more significant challenges to face as they might not be as powerful as their enterprise counterparts. However, with the right amount of planning and reputation management on their online platforms, small businesses can safely sail through the Covid-19 pandemic or any other economic depression.

Another significant concept is the Triple Bottom Line. The Triple Bottom Line concept was launched more than 20 years ago by John Elkington in his book Cannibals with Forks. The book’s title suggests the basic message: that modern society is eating itself in a sophisticated way (Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Elkington recommends a paradigm shift. This paradigm shift should lead to a situation in which economic decisions support human and natural interests rather than damage them. During the COVID-19 crisis period, sustainability is mostly seen in negative terms. The Brundtland definition accuses the business world of destroying options for future generations or not caring about the health outcomes of the public. The Triple Bottom Line approach to sustainability offers a significant model that companies can work with during this COVID-19 pandemic period.


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): The Concept. Class Lecture (PowerPoint Presentation)

Question 5: Cialdini’s Influence Tactics

The federal, local, and worldwide leaders have faced a significant challenge in persuading people to change their approaches and lifestyles during the COVID-19 pandemic. Robert Cialdini, in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, provides effective influence strategies that leaders can use to buy-in from the public and other target audiences. Several leaders have demonstrated the use of Cialdini’s tactics, including commitment and social proof (Cialdini, 2006). World leaders are currently using tactics to influence people to follow COVID-19 protocols. It was to influence people to adopt a new online communication that replaced traditional face-to-face communication. For example, President Joe Biden used Cialdini’s principle of commitment and consistency by drafting protocols and policies to help Americans deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. With reciprocity, he ensured there is the training of specialists, scientists, and researchers to find the efficiency of Coronavirus vaccines and how to save people from the pandemic.

The prime minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen is among the leaders who demonstrated social proof to persuade people to follow the guidelines and restrictions. Through her social media platforms, Frederiksen posted clear instruction and straight-talking speeches to the public on how they can avoid contracting the virus. Recently she posted a video clip on Facebook showing some sense of fun while doing her dishes. She was singing along the Dodo and Danish popstars’ 1987 songs while in lockdown. Her strategy has spared her country from the COVI-A9 pandemic, with its death toll remaining less than 250. The use of Cialdini’s tactic of social proof demonstrates Frederiksen as a successful and skilled leader who managed to sway the public into believing the importance of following COVID-19 protocols.


Cialdini, R. B. (2006). Influence: the psychology of persuasion, (Revised Edition). New York: William Morrow.


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