Into the “New Normal”: The Ethical and Analytical Challenge Facing Public Health Post‐COVID‐19

Hagai Boas, Nadav Davidovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Even though various countries’ overall policy for dealing with the pandemic was not particularly innovative, the pandemic was perceived as a unique crisis. “COVID exceptionalism” has seemed to create “a new normal” that we all need to “learn to live with”. The main change in perspective, while not new for public health experts, is that health exists within a social and political context. While public health ethics has turned out to be an important discipline, there is a long way to its wider acceptance. Entering the “new normal” calls for a wider embrace of public health approaches to ethics. The renewed emphasis on understanding health as a social concept encompasses central normative implications in relation to dealing with COVID‐19 and in relation to dealing with other global crises, chiefly climate change. We argue that entering the era of “the new normal” in healthcare requires a nuanced understanding of the relationship between the individual and society and demands the formulation of a new system of bioethics focused on the concept of solidarity as a central value in public health. Such a concept should refer to the fact that in the “new normal”, risks require new social and political formations of standing together in confronting risks that cross national, cultural, and identity borders. Forming and expanding solidarity in health and healthcare, we argue, is the main normative challenge for public health today.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8385
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number14
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • COVID‐19
  • bioethics
  • community
  • new normal
  • public health ethics
  • vaccinations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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