新冠肺炎下,美国正在为之前的悠哉买单

2021年1月15日
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新冠肺炎已然成为一场全球性的病毒危机,而疫情之下,“头号强国”美国的应对,似乎也不尽人意。在疫情暴发之前,政府的不紧不慢、隔岸观火,白白浪费了一段宝贵的“窗口期”。而疫情暴发后,许多美国民众都无法进行病毒检测;防护措施的不力,更加速了病毒的蔓延。截至 3 月 24 日,美国新冠肺炎的确诊病例已经破四万。特朗普政府是否需要为此担责?

新冠肺炎下,美国正在为之前的悠哉买单
Covid-19 is spreading rapidly in America. The country does not look ready

新冠肺炎来势汹汹,而美国缺乏准备

As of March 11th, almost 1,300 Americans had been diagnosed with covid-19. Several times more probably have the disease undetected and are transmitting it within communities. And still the country looks behind in its preparations for what now threatens to be a bruising pandemic.

截至 3 月 11 日,已经有将近 1300 个美国人被确诊为新冠肺炎。可能还有比这个数字多好几倍的人已经感染,但还没被发现,并携带着病毒在各个社区内传播。然而,即使现在新冠肺炎眼看着就要成为杀伤力极强的“全球性流行病”了,这个国家似乎仍然没有做好应对的准备。

How America got here was the result of two significant failures — one technical, the other of messaging.

美国如今走到这步田地,来源于两个层面的重大失败——一是技术上的失败,二是信息传递上的失败。

In America the testing regime has worked badly, because of faulty test-kits manufactured by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and tangles in administrative red tape between the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Whether skimpy budgeting, bureaucratic blockages or both were to blame is as yet unclear and sure to be the subject of a future investigation.

在美国,疾病控制与预防中心(简称疾控中心)生产的试剂盒存在缺陷,疾控中心和食品药品监督管理局之间,也由于行政上的繁文缛节发生不少纠葛,因而病毒的检测制度运作不佳。到目前为止,真正的“罪魁祸首”是谁还很难说,可能是匮乏的预算、官僚主义的阻碍,或者两者都有份,但这必定会成为将来调查的主要问题。

A successful testing regime also buys time for the right messaging. But from the start, President Donald Trump has downplayed the chance of big disruption to ordinary lives and the economy. His insistence that virus hysteria was being amped up by his political enemies has distracted from the crucial message, which is to get ready.

一套成功的病毒检测制度,也会为准确的信息传递争取时间。但从一开始,总统唐纳德·特朗普就缺乏重视,将疫情对普通民众的生活,以及经济发展产生重大破坏的可能性轻描淡写。他坚称这种对于病毒的“歇斯底里”式的反应,是自己的政治对手煽动起来的,而这使民众放错了重点,忽略了最核心的信息,那就是做好应对疫情的准备。

Correcting the course of the outbreak is vital because America’s health infrastructure, like that of most countries, is not equipped to deal with an enormous surge in serious cases. Health care is also extraordinarily costly. Some insurers insist that patients will not be made to pay for testing. But as yet there is no such policy at national level.

将疫情的发展态势纠回正轨是非常重要的,因为美国在医疗卫生方面的基础设施,和大多数国家一样,是不足以应对危重病例如此猛烈的激增的。此外,医疗保健费用也出奇地高昂。一些保险公司一再坚持,患者不会被要求支付检测费用。但在国家层面,目前这样的政策还没有出台。

To fight the outbreak, America needs clear, unvarnished public information and policies based on the best science. Is the president capable of endorsing that?

为应对疫情的暴发,美国需要清晰、透明的信息公开和基于最优科学考量的政策。而总统是否有能力为此提供支持呢?

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