Was lockdown racist? Lecture in Princeton Center for Human Values, Boston SPH

Delighted to be giving a talk called “Was lockdown racist?” at the Princeton Centre for Human Values (2 Nov) and the Boston School of Public Health’s Department of Global Health (7 Nov).

Princeton: 2 Nov @ 4.30pm, Center for Human Values

Boston SPH: 7 Nov @ 1pm, Dept of Global Health

Abstract

In 2016, South African learner Zulaikha Patel argued that a school rule requiring hair to be neat was racist, despite applying equally to pupils of all races. This paper argues that suppression strategies deployed against Covid-19, especially in the early stages of the pandemic, were racist in the same way. The suppression strategy was motivated by science done in traditional seats of colonial power. Local factors shaped (as they normally do) both the methods used and the recommendations arrived at. These did not adequately consider the situation of many people globally living in various contexts of poverty: including on those in Africa. Notwithstanding, the recommendations were promulgated by the World Health Organisation and others, with no regard for local context. Feasibility of implementing “lockdowns” in breadline conditions, effectiveness in overcrowded conditions, local priorities, and the age of the population (in Africa, median 19.7) were not contemplated. Local political and financial interests were aligned with this neglect, and local scientific capacity was in any case lacking. When a regulatory package is implemented in an African country with high costs and low benefits, and originates in a strategy conceived in Europe and promulgated by European-based international organisations, it is impossible to ignore racial dynamics. I show that the trope of “lockdown” as enacted for Covid is a central difference between the responses to Covid and other epidemics in Africa, and I show that one cannot adequately explain this contrast without reference to race. Therefore lockdown was racist.

‘Can you lock down in a slum?’ published in Global Epidemiology

Delighted that this paper co-authored with Pieter Streicher has now been published in Global Epidemiology.

Broadbent A, Streicher P. Can you lock down in a slum? And who would benefit if you tried? Difficult questions about epidemiology’s commitment to global health inequalities during Covid-19. Global Epidemiology. 2022;4:100074. doi:10.1016/J.GLOEPI.2022.100074 (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590113322000049)

Covid Philosophy Week, 10-13 May 2021 – Registration Open

The journal Philosophy of Medicine, the Department of HPS, Cambridge, and the Institute for the Future of Knowledge, U Johannesburg, bring you a multi-day programme of philosophical discussions responding to Covid-19. There are three events:

10-13 May, Conference: Philosophical Perspectives on Covid-19, hosted by Philosophy of Medicine and the Institute for the Future of Knowledge (UJ)

12 May, Workshop: The Individual and the Population, part of the series Rethinking the Ethics of Vaccination organized by Emma Curran and Stephen John (Cambridge HPS)

13 May, Panel: Philosophy of Medicine on Covid-19, hosted by Philosophy of Medicine and the Institute for the Future of Knowledge (UJ)

These events have been timetabled so that they do not clash and are accessible for as broad a range of time zones as possible.

Registration and further info for all three events available here: https://philmed.pitt.edu/philmed/CovidWeek

Warm regards,

The Editors, Philosophy of Medicine

https://philmed.pitt.edu/

Is lockdown right? Bioethics, global health, and COVID-19

I gave a public lecture at Virginia Commonwealth University, and it’s up on YouTube here. Bear in mind it was midnight my time… surreal but enjoyable experience.

In this talk I argue for these five claims:

  1. Several common arguments for lockdowns fail
  2. Many actual lockdowns have been unjustified and wrong: other measures would have been better
  3. Globally, lockdowns shift the burden of disease from the powerful and wealthy to the less powerful and poor
  4. The global preference for lockdowns is due to their favoring the interests of the rich and powerful
  5. Optional extra: the favoring of lockdowns by the “left” and rejection by the “right” has nothing to do with their intrinsic character: they are as much right as left and vice versa

How Should We Evaluate Lockdowns? Disentangling Effectiveness, Context, and Politics

Very pleased to share a new blog post I’ve written with Herkulaas Combrink, Benjamin Smart and Damian Walker for the Center for Global Development’s commentary and analysis section.

https://www.cgdev.org/blog/how-should-we-evaluate-lockdowns-disentangling-effectiveness-context-and-politics

Is lockdown right? Bioethics, global health and COVID-19. Talk I’m giving for PhilHEAD workshop https://philhead.org/events/ 17 Oct, 3pm SA/EU

Excited to be giving these thoughts their first outing, in what I hope will be my considered philosophical paper on the thoughts I’ve been having during 2020. The event is open and you can join here: https://bit.ly/3lnxPci

Interview – why lockdowns didn’t work in South Africa – Radio 702 https://omny.fm/shows/early-breakfast-with-abongile-nzelenzele/why-lockdown-didnt-work

https://omny.fm/shows/early-breakfast-with-abongile-nzelenzele/why-lockdown-didnt-work

Commenting on a recent piece in The Conversation, related to a paper published in Global Epidemiology recently, indicating no obvious effect of lockdown over and above mitigation in South Africa.

Lockdown didn’t work in South Africa https://theconversation.com/lockdown-didnt-work-in-south-africa-why-it-shouldnt-happen-again-147682https://theconversation.com/lockdown-didnt-work-in-south-africa-why-it-shouldnt-happen-again-147682

Latest from our ongoing research project at the Institute for the Future of Knowledge with the Center for Global Development. We are looking at indirect health effects of lockdown, meaning the effects on things other than COVID-19. But in the process, we couldn’t help but notice the direct effects too – or rather, their absence…

https://theconversation.com/lockdown-didnt-work-in-south-africa-why-it-shouldnt-happen-again-147682

Paper just out in Global Epidemiology: COVID-19 in South Africa https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloepi.2020.100034 #epitwitter @CGDev @besmart

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590113320300183

With Herkulaas Combrink and Benjamin Smart.

Part of a project at the Institute for the Future of Knowledge funded by the Center for Global Development. The project looks at the indirect health effects of lockdown in multiple countries.