Weekly Review: COVID-19 Legal and Ethics Issues – November 16, 2020

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Weekly Review: COVID-19 Legal and Ethics Issues – November 16, 2020

Weekly Review: COVID-19 Legal and Ethics Issues – November 16, 2020

Infection Control Policies – Think Dials, Not Switches

COVID-19 case numbers are skyrocketing, threatening to overwhelm not only local bed capacity but also, more dangerously, our health care workforce.

Without enough workers to care for the ill, hospitals will face brutal triage decisions about which patients can be saved. They may run out of space, forcing the sick to suffer in hallways and improvised intensive care units. And the months of psychic strain on doctors and nurses will redouble.

Rural hospitals and staffs are especially at risk of being overwhelmed.

As governors, mayors, and other local officials consider the implementation of stricter infection control measures, it is helpful to think about these measures as dials that can be tuned to respond to the particular characteristics of the local outbreak, rather than as an all-or-nothing “lockdown switch” that turns all measures on or off. This graphic from the Minnesota Department of Health is a useful guide:

Dials Not Switches to Respond to COVID-19

Below are several significant, recently-implemented policies cities and states have put in place responding to the COVID-19 surge:

Kentucky Executive Orders Upheld By State Supreme Court

On Friday, the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld the Governor’s state of emergency and business closure-related executive orders, including an order “requiring that temporary and total disability be given to workers who test positive for COVID-19 based on the nature of their employment. The order names health care workers, childcare workers, first responders and correctional officers as among those who qualify.”

Employment Law: Parents, Especially Mothers, Claim Pandemic-Related Discrimination

Bloomberg News reports on the skyrocketing number of lawsuits from parents claiming they have been discriminated against when they were fired while attempting to balancing family and work responsibilities during the pandemic. According to the article:

Much of the litigation from working parents has focused on a narrow issue: the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a federal law passed in March that granted 10 extra weeks of paid parental leave to workers at small businesses.

This is predicted to worsen as the pandemic, and associated school and work disruptions, continue on into the new year.

Eviction Crisis

While physicians believe the CDC’s Eviction Moratorium has been a critical piece of fighting the pandemic, up to one out of every 10 U.S. households face eviction by year’s end, when the CDC’s eviction moratorium expires.

|2020-11-16T08:44:03-05:00November 16th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|0 Comments

About the Author: Ross Silverman

Ross Silverman
Ross D. Silverman, JD, MPH, is Professor of Health Policy and Management at Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health and Professor of Public Health and Law at Indiana University McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. He is a member of the IU Centers on Health Policy and Bioethics. His research focuses on public health and medical law, policy, and ethics, and law's impact on health outcomes and vulnerable populations. He also serves as Associate Editor on Legal Epidemiology for Public Health Reports, the official journal of the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service. His most recent Covid-19 publications include: "Ensuring Uptake of Vaccines Against SARS-CoV-2" in the New England Journal of Medicine (with MM Mello & SB Omer), and "Covid-19: control measures must be equitable and inclusive" in BMJ (with ZD Berger, NG Evans & AL Phelan)

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