Covid Culture Wars

October 14, 2021, 7:30PM EST

President Biden’s aggressive plan to boost vaccination levels in this country comes as millions of Americans refuse to protect themselves against the deadly virus. Those opposing vaccines and masks mandates fall along partisan lines, making the issue more about politics than public health. Mask wearing and vaccines have emerged as a new front in America’s culture wars.

David Graham, staff writer at The Atlantic, leads a discussion examining how these public health measures have become a hot button political calling card. Joining him are Art Caplan, Professor of Bioethics at NYU Langone Medical Center; Lawrence Gostin, Professor in Global Health Law at Georgetown; and Carmel Shachar, Executive Director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics at Harvard Law School.

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David Graham
Staff Writer at The Atlantic

David Graham is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He was previously editor of the Atlantic’s politics section. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Daily Beast, and the Wall Street Journal. He also teaches at the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke University.


Arthur Caplan
Professor of Bioethics at NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. Caplan is the Mitty Professor of Bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center and the founding director of the Division of Medical Ethics. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he co-directs an advisory group on sports and recreation for the US Conference of Mayors, created and serves on a working group on coronavirus vaccine challenge studies, and developed an ethical framework for distributing drugs and vaccines. He has written more than 30 books, including “Vaccination Ethics and Policy”

Lawrence Gostin
Professor in Global Health Law at Georgetown

Mr. Gostin is a Professor and Founding O’Neill Chair in Global Health Law at Georgetown University. He directs the World Health Organization Center on National and Global Health Law and is working with WHO on the global COVID-19 response. He currently serves as a member of the Independent Panel for a Global Public Health Convention. President Obama appointed Professor Gostin to the President’s National Cancer Advisory Board.

Carmel Shachar
Executive Director of the Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard Law School

Carmel Shachar is the Executive Director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. Carmel is also a Lecturer at Harvard Law School, where she teaches a course on “Health Care Rights in the Twenty-First Century.” Carmel’s work focuses on law and health policy and the application of public health ethics to real-world questions. She has a forthcoming book, “Covid-19 and the Law”.

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