From moral values to public health effectiveness

The place and importance of trust during the COVID-19 pandemic


  • Igor Eterović


The COVID-19 pandemic has put every contemporary society in front of various challenges. While those are often reflected and explained through economic, political or medical lenses, it seems that thorough ethical and bioethical insights are too rarely exposed and made explicit. This article tries to contribute to the neglected sphere of interconnection and interrelatedness of basic moral values and general, primarily public health, challenges. Moreover, it will be argued that by deeply disrespectful behaviour of chief institutions and inappropriate communication to the overall community (citizens) the value of elementary trust and respectfulness has been eroded, betrayed, and consequently brings to the plethora of economic, political, medical, and other challenges and troubles. The key argument is that the effectiveness of the public health measures is primarily rooted in stable and publicly communicated basic values, such as life and health, but the stability and communication of those values lays mostly in moral values such as trust, respect, fairness etc. One of the most important lessons this pandemic could give the humanity is the almost self-evident, but often forgotten insight, that moral values are the necessary glue of all values needed for functional society (and generally functional global community on Earth). The examples will be taken from the Croatian example of social, political, and institutional confrontation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keywords: moral values, ethics, trust, public health, COVID-19 pandemic, bioethics, Croatia.





Pandemic and responsibility