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Is it ethical to stockpile groceries during the coronavirus crisis? Show more Show less
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All around the world we are seeing images of emptied supermarket shelves as people prepare for lockdowns. Is it ethical to ensure you have enough supplies for your family without regards to others? Or is it unethical not to think of other (potentially more disadvantaged) people's needs?

Stockpiling is a storm in a teacup Show more Show less

There are way bigger issues at hand than whether or not someone has more toilet paper for you. We should be focusing on ensuring healthcare services aren't at max capacity instead.
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Hospitals are the real problem; stockpiling is simply a consequence of this structural issue

Hospitals all across the world are being overwhelmed and people are in a state of panic due to the lack of hospital beds and medical supplies. If this root problem is addressed, then stockpiling and other minor issues will also be resolved.
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The Argument

While there are raging debates over the ethics and effectiveness of stockpiling, there is a much bigger question that has yet to be addressed. In order for things to return to normal, the disease must be eradicated, and stopping the spread of the disease should be the main concern on everyone’s mind. Hence, much more importance needs to be placed on making sure hospitals have adequate supplies such as ventilators and ICU beds. By ensuring people that there are enough hospital facilities to treat COVID-19 patients, not only will the government be able to dramatically lower the state of panic across the nation, but they will be better equipped to trace the spread of the disease and treat anyone affected by it. In New York City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in America, there were only 53,000 beds in 187 hospitals. However, as of April 26, 2020, more than 57,000 people needed hospital beds due to COVID-19 infections. [1] This clearly shows that hospitals and a lack of medical supplies are what is leaving many untreated or undiagnosed. Medical centers have been depleted. The government and people need to orient their focus towards making sure that hospitals are funded, more spaces are converted into medical facilities and there is a larger production of essential medical supplies such as face masks. Stockpiling is simply a byproduct of this much larger and more complex problem. By addressing the needs of hospitals and medical professionals, all of the smaller problems can easily be resolved.

Counter arguments

The needs of hospitals and medical facilities are being adequately addressed by the government and they are not the catalyst for unethical actions such as stockpiling. In New York City, they turned the Javits Convention Center and a Navy Hospital Ship, Comfort, into two temporary hospital sites. [2]Efforts were made by governors all around the country to make sure hospitals had adequate medical masks and other supplies such as ventilators. Those who were sick were getting the medical attention they needed. Stockpiling is not a byproduct of any structural medical predicament; rather, it is a problem on its own. People are behaving irrationally and making decisions that are not warranted by facts or governmental or medical advice in any way. In order to solve the problem of stockpiling, better communication by the government along with other alternative solutions need to be established. There is no real connection between stockpiling and the state of medical facilities.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/30/how-northwell-health-and-beaumont-health-make-money.html/source.html
  2. https://www.npr.org/2020/04/07/829091975/new-yorks-temporary-overflow-hospitals-remain-underused-despite-covid-19-crisis/source.html
This page was last edited on Tuesday, 16 Jun 2020 at 20:08 UTC

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