New course on COVID-19 Law and Policy

Second Update: New Course on COVID-19 Law and Policy

Professor Jennifer D. Oliva's update on new course focused on the legal aspects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jennifer D. Oliva

By Jennifer D. Oliva
Associate Professor of Law
Published 2020-07-06


This summer is flying by at an alarming pace. We are entering week six of Seton Hall’s newest course COVID-19: Current Topics in Pandemic Law and Policy and the class has been absolutely terrific over the first five weeks of the course. My overview of the first two weeks of the course is available here.

During the third week of the course, June 14 – June 20, 2020, my students examined the American health care delivery system and explored health inequities in the context of COVID-19. Among other interesting works, we read Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s terrific NEW YORKER article, What the Coronavirus Reveals About American Medicine, Professor Nicholas Terry’s JOURNAL OF LAW AND BIOSCIENCES essay, COVID-19 and Healthcare Lessons Already Learned, Professors Emily Benefer and Lindsay Wiley’s HEALTH AFFAIRS BLOG contribution, Health Justice Strategies to Combat COVID-19: Protecting Vulnerable Communities During A Pandemic, an instructive BROOKINGS INSTITUTE post, Class and COVID-19: How the Less Affluent Face Double Risks, the JAMA article, COVID-19 and Racial/Ethnic Disparities, written by Drs. Hooper, Napoles, and Perez-Stable, Professors Nina A. Kohn and Jessica Roberts THE HILL opinion editorial, COVID-19 and Disability-Based Discrimination in Health Care, disability law expert Professor Elizabeth Pendo’s ABA article, COVID-19 and Disability-Based Discrimination in Health Care, and my opinion piece published by the NEW JERSEY STAR-LEDGER, A Crisis Within A Crisis: People Addicted to Opioids Must Still Get Treatment During the Pandemic.

For those of you following along with this course, who are interested in free web presentations related to the subject of health inequities in era of COVID-19, I recommend the following options:

  1. Emily Benfer, How Can We Ensure Health Justice During the Pandemic, Wake Forest Law: Isolated by the Law Symposium (Apr. 14, 2020) (YouTube)
  2. Seema Mohapatra, How Has the Pandemic Affected Racial Inequities, Wake Forest Law: Isolated by the Law Symposium (Apr. 14, 2020) (YouTube)
  3. Wendy Parmet, How Has Immigration Policy Impacted the U.S. Response, Wake Forest Law: Isolated by the Law Symposium (Apr. 14, 2020) (YouTube)
  4. Columbia University, The Earth Institute, After the Pandemic: Health Care in Crisis (Apr. 8, 2020) (YouTube)

During the second half of our Week 3 explorations related to pandemic law and policy, we covered pandemic privacy-related topics that near and dear to my heart and about which I am writing this summer: surveillance technology, track and trace, and immunity passports. The students read, watched, and discussed several interesting and timely contributions concerning COVID-19 surveillance and privacy, including Carisa Long’s online book chapter, Privacy and Pandemics in Katharina Pister’s compilation, Law in the Time of COVID-19, Danielle Citron and Mary Anne Franks’ HARVARD LAW REVIEW BLOG, Cyber Civil Rights in the Time of COVID-19, Michelle M. Mello and C. Jason Wang SCIENCE article, Ethics and Governance for Digital Disease Surveillance, Paul Schwartz’s excellent IAPP piece, Protecting Privacy on COVID-19 Surveillance Apps, the terrific ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION essay by Andrew Crocker and co-authors, The Challenge of Proximity Apps for COVID-19 Contact Tracing, Carmel Shachar and co-authors’ JAMA article, Implications for Telehealth in a Postpandemic Future: Regulatory and Privacy Issues. To inform our discussion about “immunity passports,” we read Ronald Bailey’s COVID-19 “Immunity Passports” Could Be A Good Idea published in REASON, Govind Persad and Ezekiel Emanuel’s JAMA essay, The Ethics of COVID-19 Immunity-Based Licenses (“Immunity Passports”), and watched a fascination interview with Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Immunity Passports in the Time of COVID-19.

Please read along and join in the conversation on the Center for Health & Pharma Law’s LinkedIn page, where I will be posting our Weeks five and six course readings and updates.