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since with age comes other physiological factors or conditions that will affect chances for survival. But we should be fully aware of when we are considering a clinical factor and when we are submitting a patient to social bias. We understand the motivation to be utilitarian and to want to maximize “life-years” -- it makes the rules clear and it is easy to feel that “life is good, so more life is better.” But clarity alone does not make for good morality. Prioritizing “life-years” solely for the sake of giving the youth a chance to get old is as much a non-clinical social decision as any other that we should try to avoid. Potential quantity should not be deemed actual. We may assume a younger person will live longer, but one can never be sure that this will be so. We should not be utilitarian based on assumptions that are outside the clinically relevant. Ethics committees and medical professionals have no moral authority to presume the value of “life-years” or who will give a greater contribution to society when the pandemic is over. Guidelines for ethical allocation of resources should stick to considerations of chances for overall survival from COVID-19. Indirect factors, such as age, disability, and comorbidity (existing physiological conditions that make a patient more vulnerable), should only be considered as they relate to prognosis and survivability. It will seldom if ever be the case that all considerations for resource allocation for two COVID-19 patients will be exactly equal. And if there is a case where it is close, we shouldn’t simply defer to general guidelines that turn decision makers into soldiers on the front lines. As appeared in CNN on April 1, 2020.

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