Dr. Glorioso guest lectures Boston University’s Medical Ethics Course: COVID-19 and Utilitarianism.

The below link is the full video recording of a class that Brian Moen (Philosophy PhD student at B.U. and friend) and I recorded for the undergraduate medical ethics class he is teaching at Boston University this Summer.

This was really a lot of fun! We create a framework for choosing the best strategy based on a utilitarian framework. Utilitarianism being maximizing the most good for the most people. Here are the slides in pictures with captions but watching the video is better for the discussion we had.

Covid-19 originated in China from a bat reservoir and we started to become aware of it in the US in January 2020.
I wanted to talk a little bit about some basics of COVID-19, which are important to understanding how to maximize utility. It has a 0.8-2% death rate, much lower than the flu.
The death rate is irrefutable due to the “excess deaths” measurement.
I discuss that worldometer.info is a reliable source of data because it is independent of governments and thus corruption. I walk the students through the website showing how to use it.
An important thing to note when picking a strategy to maximize utility is that COVID does not affect everyone equally. More than 95 percent of deaths are in older people or younger people with a pre-existing condition.
Here are some of the metrics that a utilitarian strategy could be measured on. And I go through this in detail.
These are the strategies that various governments have taken- I go through each one.
Readings assigned for the class organized by strategy.
How I rated each strategy out of 5 for subcategories for a total out of 10. The US/Europe rank fourth out five and clustered lock-down comes out on top for me. I talk about my thinking and how other people might rate things differently.

Bmo and I then get into a discussion about people’s rights to not wear masks, fake news, and how to figure out what the truth is during the pandemic.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

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