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The devastation evoked by the COVID-19 pandemic raises challenging dilemmas in bioethics. It also speaks to social justice issues that have plagued historically marginalized communities in the United States.

Responses to the pandemic must be bound by legal standards, principles of distributive justice, and societal norms of protecting vulnerable populations—core commitments of public health—to ensure that inequities are not exacerbated, and should provide a pathway for improvements to ensure equitable access and treatment in the future. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print August 20, 2020: e1–e5. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2020.305837)