Contagion Essay

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Contagion is a movie based on a deadly virus, MEV-1, which spreads around the world in a matter of days (Shamberg, Sher, Jacobs & Soderbergh, 2011). The premise is that the MEV-1 virus is spread person-to-person via airborne droplets produced by sneezes or coughs, as well as by viruses deposited on fomites, such as glasses, doorknobs, peanuts, and so on. The virus circles the globe in a matter of days, causing coughs, fevers and seizures as scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scramble to identify the pathogen and develop a vaccine. MEV-1 is presented to the audience as a pandemic. During a pandemic preserving the functionality of society is a priority (Gostin,…show more content…
Determining which action to take requires that all actions in the situation and potential outcomes of each be examined for every person or group who may be involved. After the different outcomes are weighed and balanced, the action that leads to the best outcome for the most people is selected.
Paternalism is the intentional limitation of the autonomy of one person by another, in which the person who limits autonomy appeals exclusively to grounds of benefit to the other person (Edge & Groves, 2006, p 61). Paternalism could also be defined as the intentional interference with a person’s freedom of action exclusively to protect his or her health, safety, welfare, happiness, or other interests (Gostin, 2008). Paternalism seemingly involves the value we place on promoting and protecting the well-being of others.
Paternalistic policies can be effective in preventing injuries and deaths in the population (Gostin, 2008). Paternalism exists throughout Contagion. In order to keep the masses safe from contracting the MEV-1 virus, public health agencies initiated safety guidelines for the general public to follow. From a public health aspect, individual interests must yield to those of the wider community to facilitate the public’s health, safety, and well-being. The public health tradition values prevention and views its successes or failures based on the benefits and burdens that accrue to populations rather than to individuals. This

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