What role should the government play in ensuring public health?

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What role should the government play in ensuring public health?


This assignment allows you to further your research skills. Building on Enlightenment philosophies that are the foundation of the American government, you will construct an argument about the role of government in ensuring public health. To do this, you will research arguments for and against public health policies related to COVID-19. You will practice integration of sources, as well as MLA citation of those sources.

Required Reading

For this assignment, you will read Book I of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract. You will also view videos explaining the philosophies of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.

For your research, you will need to consult newspapers and magazines to gain an understanding of the controversies surrounding public health decrees, as well as websites of county, state, or federal health agencies.


Americans have confronted several issues in 2020: systemic racism, climate change, economic destabilization, and global pandemic. Our nation has been divided over these issues and how best to address them, and these issues figured prominently in this year’s presidential election.

As we struggle with how best to control the pandemic, issues of individual freedoms are being weighed against the public good. Some countries chose to shut down entirely, while others (Sweden) opted to maintain status quo in favor of developing “herd immunity.” Across the U.S., states issued “safer at home” orders, with some mandating masks. In California, every county is assigned a colored tier that dictates which types of businesses and institutions can reopen.

In a country that prizes laissez-faire capitalism, these public health orders do not go unchallenged. Also, in Orange County, for example, there have been multiple protests and refusals to wear masks in public. Several religious leaders cite the separation of church and state to justify defying public health orders against congregating indoors.

The California “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” goes further than many others in its efforts to mitigate the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on some communities (https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/
(Links to an external site.)
). In addition to looking at positivity and hospitalization rates, counties are assess on a health equity metric. This, too, has caused consternation among people in communities that have lower positivity rates.

Writing Task

In a 1500- to 2000-word essay that incorporates four to six sources, addresses the following question:


Please be sure to cite all your sources using MLA format, both in-text and on a Works Cited page.