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Bioethics ; 35(2): 125-134, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066621


In March 2020, the rapid increase in severe COVID-19 cases overwhelmed the healthcare systems in several European countries. The capacities for artificial ventilation in intensive care units were too scarce to care for patients with acute respiratory disorder connected to the disease. Several professional associations published COVID-19 triage recommendations in an extremely short time: in 21 days between March 6 and March 27. In this article, we compare recommendations from five European countries, which combine medical and ethical reflections on this situation in some detail. Our aim is to provide a detailed overview on the ethical elements of the recommendations, the differences between them and their coherence. In more general terms we want to identify shortcomings in regard to a common European response to the current situation.

COVID-19/therapy , Health Care Rationing , Standard of Care/ethics , Triage/ethics , Age Factors , COVID-19/epidemiology , Europe/epidemiology , Health Personnel/ethics , Health Personnel/psychology , Health Priorities , Hospitalization , Human Rights , Humans , Intensive Care Units/ethics , Practice Guidelines as Topic , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Treatment Outcome , Ventilators, Mechanical/supply & distribution , Withholding Treatment/ethics
Ethics Inf Technol ; 23(3): 285-294, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-891267


There is growing interest in contact tracing apps (CT apps) for pandemic management. It is crucial to consider ethical requirements before, while, and after implementing such apps. In this paper, we illustrate the complexity and multiplicity of the ethical considerations by presenting an ethical framework for a responsible design and implementation of CT apps. Using this framework as a starting point, we briefly highlight the interconnection of social and political contexts, available measures of pandemic management, and a multi-layer assessment of CT apps. We will discuss some trade-offs that arise from this perspective. We then suggest that public trust is of major importance for population uptake of contact tracing apps. Hasty, ill-prepared or badly communicated implementations of CT apps will likely undermine public trust, and as such, risk impeding general effectiveness.

Gesundheitswesen ; 82(8-09): 664-669, 2020 Sep.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-796741


Contact tracing is currently one of the most effective measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to identify persons that would otherwise not be known or remembered and to keep the time delay when reporting an infection and when contacting people as short as possible, digital contact tracing using smartphones seems to be a reasonable measure additional to manual contact tracing. Although first modelling studies predicted a positive effect in terms of prompt contact tracing, no empirically reliable data are as yet available, neither on the population-wide benefit nor on the potential risks of contact tracing apps. Risk-benefit assessment of such an app includes investigating whether such an app fulfils its purpose, as also research on the effectiveness, risks and side effects, and implementation processes (e. g. planning and inclusion of different participants). The aim of this article was to give an overview of possible public health benefits as well as technical, social, legal and ethical aspects of a contact-tracing app in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, conditions for the widest possible use of the app are presented.

Contact Tracing , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Mobile Applications , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2