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Necessities versus ethical considerations – the realities of COVID-19 and the moral strain they enforce on society

Martin Mirchev, Albena Kerekovska



After the initially chaotic and sporadic worldwide response to the COVID-19 pandemic, measures and strategies against the spread of this modern-time plague are getting shape and are relatively well adopted. In this environment, we witness the process of hard re-prioritization of needs, re-allocation of resources and some strict means to limit certain freedoms and actions.

On the ethical ground, issues of social justice and individual rights are colliding in the shape of a conflict between infringement of rights and violation of rights. In this humanitarian crisis, we observe yet another confrontation of public against individual interest.


The aim of this article is to bring up for discussion from an ethical standpoint freedoms and ultimately rights - in light of the current precautionary measures and the way they affect our social interactions.


Ethical analysis and documental research was conducted, including approved World Health Organization (WHO) statistics and data, experts’ reports, action recommendations, guidelines for measures, and standards of care in a pandemic situation.


There are different approaches among people towards the pandemic, hence leading to attitudes spanning from indifference and ignorance, to conspiracy suspicions. Others believe that their rights are being unjustly violated. Even though some government strategies suggest debatable - on ethical grounds measures - we need to reconsider our typical expectations of social justice, priorities, and autonomy. Rights and freedoms need to be flexible in contexts of mass disasters, just like our attitude needs to be. To ensure their application in times of peace and prosperity, we need to be ready to give away some of them in times of crisis/pandemic.


ethics; rights; justice; priority; pandemic; COVID-19

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About The Authors

Martin Mirchev
Medical University of Varna

Department of Social Medicine and Healthcare Organization, Faculty of Public Health

Albena Kerekovska
Medical University of Varna

Department of Social Medicine and Healthcare Organization, Faculty of Public Health

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