Excerpt from New Yorker interview 12.4.20 with Dr.Atul Gawande, author on “Being Mortal”
Interviewed by David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker
After health-care workers and nursing homes, who gets the vaccine next? It’s almost like some terrible philosophical, moral, ethical conundrum that philosophers are faced with all the time. What are your discussions like when it comes to those next levels?
There are eighty-seven million essential workers who are at heightened risk of exposure. They are, say, meatpackers who are exposed to co-workers, or grocery-store workers or bus drivers who are exposed. You’ll be able to go to your local pharmacy and get a vaccine, but what they need to know is, how do they identify who’s the bus driver and who’s not?
Will the government be able to guarantee us that wealthy people, connected people, won’t be able to jump the line?
I think this is one of the critical tests—and an opportunity. The chance to prove that the system is not rigged should not be underestimated. It’s hard. Think about it. The bus drivers never came before the bankers before. You’re going to have Zoom workers who want to go back to normal, and I cannot blame the number of people who will say, You know, thank God I can finally not be in fear. Let me get the vaccine. What do you mean, I have to wait five months? I can imagine a million ways [of jumping the line], people paying someone twenty-five hundred bucks to get your work I.D. tag. This is all about rallying people together. It can’t just be about the rules. It has to be about how we all understand this and work together to say, These are the folks most at risk. They make our subways work. They make our buses work. They get our food supply to us. They make it possible for me to go grocery shopping, and I’ll just have to wait three or four months for my turn.
What do you think?
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