Man wearing face mask looking out windowGovernments should take a systemic approach to protect the health of the population as a whole, rather than placing the responsibility on the individual, sociology doctoral candidate Jane McArthur writes.

Systemic approach necessary to protect health: researcher

The toll taken by public health measures responding to the novel coronavirus point to the value of the precautionary principle, says Jane McArthur.

A doctoral student of sociology, she argues for its adoption as fundamental to public health in an article published Monday in the Conversation, which shares news and views from the academic and research community.

The precautionary principle states that “when an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically,” she writes.

“Governments at all levels, institutions, and even businesses and individuals should be adopting the precautionary principle as we continue to move through the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for life afterwards.”

She says that all policy decisions should be made with the public good as the foremost consideration.

“The uneven impacts of COVID-19 across communities must be considered as risk mitigation strategies are constructed.”

Read the entire piece, “How governments can make public health decisions when some information about coronavirus is missing,” in the Conversation.