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Balancing Lives in Pandemic Decisions

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The United States has passed 100,000 deaths in the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are more than 350,000 deaths worldwide. Governments are struggling with decisions about how to reduce lockdown measures without provoking new spikes in cases and deaths.

Descriptions of these decisions often use balance metaphors, talking about the need to balance the spread of the disease against the hardships caused by loss of economic activity.

Is it possible to balance lives without falling into moral vertigo? Pandemic decisions are far more complex than just balancing health against the economy.

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