In deciding its response to COVID-19, the UK government has made a policy decision to sacrifice both the short-term and long-term well-being of young people in the UK in order to shortly prolong the life of the elderly. The UK’s policy regarding the pandemic has discriminated against younger generations by imposing blanket regional and national lockdowns and strict social-distancing rules on the entire population, regardless of whether certain age groups were likely to be affected by COVID-19, and while ignoring the completely different impact that the policy had on different age groups’ current and future well-being.

While blanket lockdowns and strict social-distancing rules discriminated against younger generations, isolating only the elderly and vulnerable was both necessary and not discriminatory. Such a policy complies with the moral duties that are imposed by the concept of intergenerational justice and can also be justified behind a Rawlsian “veil of ignorance”. Isolating the elderly and the vulnerable, however, should have been advisory rather than compulsory.