Quarantine graphic by DepositPhoto

The Ethics of staying home during the Coronavirus

By Emma Craven

As most of us know by now, on March 23, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statewide Stay Home order. The governor announced this week that the order was extended. The order that is similar to ones from other states, including California and New York. According to Inslee’s official statement, “The less time we spend in public, the more lives we will save.” For Inslee, it seems that this stay at home order is important in protecting not only ourselves and our families, but other people we could come in contact with. After the governor made his announcement, in the following days, many other states have also issued some sort of stay at home order. Our neighboring states, Idaho and Oregon, both launched stay at home orders, that show similarities to other states.

While we all may be going a little stir crazy inside our homes and may have even lost count of how many days its been, it is even more important than ever to stay indoors or stay outside (at least 6 feet from others). During the SARS epidemic in 2003, the AMA Journal of Ethics released an article about The Ethics of Quarantine, which seems extremely prevalent, even 17 years later. Ross Upshur for the AMA Journal of Ethics on The Ethics of Quarantine said that quarantine is, “a blunt instrument to use in the control of infectious diseases.”

Quarantine Will Help

It seems that even though quarantine is not ideal for so many people, it will help with limiting exposure to the illness. While Upshur poses questions of whether or not quarantine is ethical, he does say that it could be useful by saying, “However, in some circumstances, it is one of the only possible means of responding to an infectious disease threat.”

With this illness becoming so fast spread, it seems that the only ethical option is to stay outside. While it may seem that this stay at home order infringes on our daily lives, it is saving lives, even if we can’t exactly see it. It is each of our responsibilities to do what we can to help one another, we owe it to one another.

The Right Choice

According to Jenni Avins, of Quartz on The ethics of staying home in the face of coronavirus said, “even those who wouldn’t suffer dire consequences from infection—or even exhibit symptoms—could still expose more vulnerable people, whether the elderly, uninsured, undocumented, or unwell, to the disease.” The ethical choice in the time of the pandemic is to stay home (as much as possible) and practice social distancing.

The important thing to remember during the virus is to not only stay safe and healthy but to also treat one another with kindness and humanity. Most have us have probably seen that items are going off the shelves of grocery stores just as quickly as they are going on. With the craziness and uncontrollability of this pandemic, just remember each one of us can each do our part in helping one another, even in the smallest of ways.

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