Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/12/2020: Walking Through A Storm Edition

I don’t care what you say, it’s a good morning.

1. Coronavirus ethics report. Today, ethics Alarms officially dubs the epidemic and ethics train wreck.

  • Good one! Rudy Gobert, the 27-year-old centerfor the Utah Jazz, intentionally touched every surface, microphone and recorders during a session with reporters after the NBA had banned access to player in team locker rooms. He was making a pointed joke about the league’s alarmism over Covid-19. Three days later, he was diagnosed with the illness, and in response, the NBA suspended its season.
  • ARRGHH! It’s what everyone thought it was!!!! The stock market crashed after the World Health Organization called the pandemic, which everyone including me had been calling a pandemic for weeks, a pandemic yesterday. I don’t understand that reaction at all.
  • Adam Kucharski, a mathematician who specializes in measuring how diseases spread, told the New York Times that “on best available data, when we adjust for unreported cases and the various delays involved, we’re probably looking at a fatality risk of probably between maybe 0.5 and 2 percent for people with symptoms.” Obviously when you add people without symptoms who are infested, the fatality risk is lower. This means that President Trump’s “hunch” that the fatality rate was probably much lower than the 3% being widely quoted, for which he was attacked as a an idiot and a liar,  was probably correct.
  • A hint regarding what kind of values we’re teaching college students: Students at the University of Dayton in Ohio became furious that the school was closing because of COVID-19, so they rioted. An estimated 1,000 students at the University erupted into screaming and violence after they were told to leave campus over the Wuhan virus outbreak. At least one person was injured by a thrown bottle.
  • Remember televangelists Jim and Tammy Bakker? Tammy’s copious TV weeping  and dripping mascara? The scandal over hush money paid to a mousey church secretary, Jessica Hahn, for Jim Bakker allegedly raping her,  leading to his resignation from the ministry? How the scandal turned Hahn into a professional bimbo, with a Playboy spread and a brief career hosting soft porn videos? Tammy and Jim divorced, and Jim ended up in prison for fraud…Ringing any bells? Now he’s back selling God on TV again, and last month started selling “Silver Solution” as a cure for Covid-19. Silver Solution “has been proven by the government that it has the ability to kill every pathogen it has ever been tested on, including SARS and HIV,” his guest told Bakker’s viewers.  Four 4-ounce bottles could be yours, a message on the screen said, for just $80.Selling a fake “treatment” for the COVID-19 disease violates state and federal law. On Tuesday, the state of Missouri filed a lawsuit against Bakker and his production company to stop them from advertising or selling Silver Solution and related products as treatments for the coronavirus.
  • Oh yeah,  this helps a lot Arthur Caplan, a professsor of bioethics at NYU, told the New York Times that without “social interventions to incentivize and support isolation, we are doomed.” Irresponsible fear-mongering. Even with the worst case scenarios, this isn’t the Spanish Flu, the Black Plague or ebola. We aren’t “doomed.”

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