WATCH: CNN Medical Guest Pushes Extreme Action Against People Who Are Unvaccinated

WATCH: CNN Medical Guest Pushes Extreme Action Against People Who Are Unvaccinated

NYU professor of bioethics Arthur Caplan appeared on CNN on Wednesday morning where he advocated for extreme action that would punish people who choose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Look, those of us who have been vaccinated and boosted and everything else, why should we keep making sacrifices when we keep being told the vast majority of people hospitalized now with COVID are the unvaccinated?” CNN’s John Berman asked.

“So, look, first, we’ve got to get the ethical ground back on the side of people doing the right thing, that praise them, that acknowledge that they’re doing the right thing,” Caplan responded. “When I hear people say our first value is autonomy, and liberty, and I don’t want to get vaxed, and I don’t want to do anything to help my neighbor, or help people who are weak or vulnerable, one of the important things we can do is shift the moral ground. We’ve got to start praising people who do the right thing. Not saying, well, there’s a tradeoff of values. Some people are going to help their neighbor[,] orient toward the community, try to protect one another. And then there are going to be jerks who aren’t going to do that.”

“Let’s get the equation straight. And people may be thinking, well, so what? What difference does it make where we put a moral emphasis? It makes a lot of difference,” Caplan continued. “Shame, guilt, calling people out when they’re not doing the right thing. I don’t see moral equivalency if you’re not doing the right thing by getting vaccinated, by trying to get tested when you can find the tests, by trying to take precautions when you’re around the weak and the vulnerable.”

“We’re going to be talking about COVID this time next year if we don’t get more people to do the right thing,” he later added. “So we can’t write them off. We can penalize them more. We can say, you’re going to pay more on your hospital bill if you weren’t vaccinated. You can’t get life insurance or disability insurance at affordable rates if you aren’t vaccinated. Those companies should not treat us as equals in terms of what the financial burdens are that that disease imposes.”

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: So two years into the deadly pandemic, and just 62 percent of Americans are vaccinated. And the number of the newly infected is shooting up yet again, shattering even more records as the Omicron variant grips the nation.

So how much should the vaccinated keep changing their lives, turning their lives upside-down to protect those who have decided to forego the vaccine?

Let’s bring in Professor Arthur Caplan. He’s the director of medical ethics at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

Professor, it’s always an education to speak to you.

Look, those of us who have been vaccinated and boosted and everything else, why should we keep making sacrifices when we keep being told the vast majority of people hospitalized now with COVID are the unvaccinated?

PROFESSOR ARTHUR CAPLAN, DIRECTOR OF MEDICAL ETHICS, NYU GROSSMAN SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Hey, John. Thanks for having me.

So, look, first, we’ve got to get the ethical ground back on the side of people doing the right thing, that praise them, that acknowledge that they’re doing the right thing.

When I hear people say our first value is autonomy, and liberty, and I don’t want to get vaxed, and I don’t want to do anything to help my neighbor, or help people who are weak or vulnerable, one of the important things we can do is shift the moral ground. We’ve got to start praising people who do the right thing. Not saying, well, there’s a tradeoff of values. Some people are going to help their neighbor[,] orient toward the community, try to protect one another. And then there are going to be jerks who aren’t going to do that.

Let’s get the equation straight. And people may be thinking, Well, so what? What difference does it make where we put a moral emphasis? It makes a lot of difference.

Shame, guilt, calling people out when they’re not doing the right thing. I don’t see moral equivalency if you’re not doing the right thing by getting vaccinated, by trying to get tested when you can find the tests, by trying to take precautions when you’re around the weak and the vulnerable.

That’s not — I think about Antonio Brown, the football player who you may remember, John, stripped off his uniform and left in the middle of a game recently. You don’t think of him as a hero. His teammates thought of him as a morally obtuse idiot, because he wasn’t participating — he did the worst thing. He abandoned his team.

And that’s what the unvaccinated, that’s what the people who won’t take precautions. That’s what the unmasked are causing to happen. They’re leaving the team in the middle of the fight for our lives, in the middle of a pandemic. So that’s preliminary.

And then I’ll just add quickly, I think you’ve got to then say we’re going to make life easier for those who vaccinate and tougher for those who won’t do it. More rewards, more freedom, more ability to go to restaurants, go to social events, go to athletic events.

Why we continue to say, well, you know, you vaccinate, you don’t vaccinate, it’s up to you if you want to come to this game. That isn’t the right stance.

BERMAN: Yes, again, I get the idea of creating a moral standard here and really judging, being willing to judge and say things out loud.

The question is — and I also get protecting the vulnerable. Kids under 5 can’t get vaccinated. People who are older and maybe have medical conditions even if they are vaccinated, are vulnerable. I get acting in ways that make their lives safer.

But by and large, if you’re vaccinated and boosted, even if you get infected, you’re going to be fine. You’re going to be fine here. It’s the unvaccinated who are going to be hurt.

So — so why should anyone who is boosted bother at this point to do anything that makes the unvaccinated more safe?

CAPLAN: Well, look, I want us to act as a community. I want us to act as a team. When you’re fighting a war, you need all hands on deck.

I don’t want to reject those who still haven’t done the right thing. I’ll condemn them. I’ll shame them. I’m blame them. But I don’t want to exclude them. They’ve got to come around.

We can’t win this war. We’re going to be talking about COVID this time next year if we don’t get more people to do the right thing.

So we can’t write them off. We can penalize them more. We can say, you’re going to pay more on your hospital bill if you weren’t vaccinated. You can’t get life insurance or disability insurance at affordable rates if you aren’t vaccinated. Those companies should not treat us as equals in terms of what the financial burdens are that that disease imposes.

So I can think of a number of ways in which we should say, “Here’s the stick, get on board.”

At the same time, we do need everyone. It’s a war. You’ve got to have all your troops unified if we’re ever going to win it.

BERMAN: Yes. But still, by and large, it’s the unvaccinated who aren’t wearing masks. It’s the unvaccinated who aren’t social distancing. It’s the unvaccinated going to crowded indoor events there. And so there’s this bizarre irony here that the ones who are behaving are being told to behave 10 times more so.

Professor Arthur Caplan, always a pleasure to have you on. Thank you very much.

CAPLAN: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: So one year after the attack on the Capitol, some rioters have showed no remorse while others do have regrets. We’re going to take a look at the lessons learned, or in some cases, not learned.

BRIANA KEILAR, CNN HOST: And ahead, the FBI conducted more than 900 interviews. They combed through 39,000 videos, and that was just for the D.C. pipe bomber. Where that search stands now.

BERMAN: That’s such a good question.

KEILAR: It really is.

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