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在肺炎疫情蔓延时离开中国
Leaving Shanghai as the Coronavirus Extended Its Reach

来源:纽约时报    2020-02-01 03:16



        When I flew to China at the beginning of January to teach a three-week college class, the Wuhan coronavirus was barely on anyone’s radar. By the time I got back to New York last Friday, it was front page news around the world, with more than 800 cases in China and 26 deaths; by Monday, the total was at least 80 deaths.
        今年1月初,我飞到中国,给一个为期三周的大学班授课,当时几乎没人注意到武汉的冠状病毒。上周五我回到纽约时,它已经成了世界各地的头版新闻,中国有800多起病例,26人死亡;截至周一,死亡总人数至少为80人。
        My students and I had all arrived a few days after China had reported the first cases of pneumonia in Wuhan to the World Health Organization, and shut down the seafood market that was thought to have been the origin of the epidemic.        我和我的学生们都是在中国向世界卫生组织报告了武汉的第一批肺炎病例,并关闭了被认为是疫情源头的海鲜市场几天后抵达中国的。
        I was teaching students from a wide variety of countries, who were in China for their first time. When they first brought up the question of the virus in Wuhan, I have to admit that my reaction was basically to reassure them, in line with all the official reassurances, and then to ask how many of them had gotten their annual flu shots. Wuhan was more than 500 miles away, and none of them would be going there.        我的学生来自不同国家,都是第一次来中国。当他们第一次提到武汉的病毒问题时,我得承认,我的反应和所有官方保证的一致,基本上是让他们放心,然后,我问他们当中有多少人每年注射一次流感疫苗。武汉离我们所在的地方有500多英里远,他们没有一个人会去那里。
        The virus had been identified as a new coronavirus on the first day of our class. By the end of the first week, the first death was reported, followed by the first overseas case. So sometime in the second week, the students, who had presumably been hearing from their anxious faraway parents, started to ask whether there was anything here to worry about. I gave stock answers: the situation is being monitored, no one here has been anywhere near Wuhan — but then again, I acknowledged, you have to take it seriously; you never know what a virus is going to do.        在我们上课的第一天,这种病毒被确认为一种新型冠状病毒。课程第一周结束时报告了第一例死亡,随后是第一例海外病例。因此,在第二周的某个时候,学生们开始询问这里有没有什么要担心的,他们可能是从远方焦虑的父母那里听来的消息。我给出了老套的答案:局势正在受到监控,这里没有人去过武汉附近的任何地方——但我再次承认,你必须认真对待它;你永远不知道病毒会怎样发展。
        As a pediatrician who has done a fair amount of traveling and worked in clinics in the United States through a variety of outbreaks (H1N1, SARS, Ebola, measles), I made the usual suggestions, which people find so unsatisfying when they’re scared: Stay as healthy as you can, get lots of sleep, drink lots of water. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. That will help keep you safe from all kinds of infections, I said, remembering that students often come down with the standard winter colds and other viral infections during the intense three weeks of the January term.
        我是一个儿科医生,在各种疫情(H1N1、非典、埃博拉病毒、麻疹)暴发期间曾经到处旅行,为美国多个诊所工作,我通常给出的建议并不会令恐慌的人们感到满意:尽量保持健康、多睡觉、多喝水。洗手、洗手、洗手。这能帮助你远离各种感染,我说,要记住,在1月期末紧张的三个星期里,学生们经常会患上普通的冬季感冒和其他病毒性感染。
        And yes, I asked them how many had gotten the annual flu shots that I knew all student health services are anxious to give — and sure enough, many of them had not. So I allowed myself to give a pompous little lecture about all the thousands of people dying of influenza — and the thousands more who will die before the flu season is over. Why didn’t that scare them, I wanted to know — at least enough to get their flu shots? Why were some cases of pneumonia in Wuhan — and some deaths, but fewer than 10 at that point — so much more terrifying?        是的,我问他们有多少人打过每年一次的流感疫苗,我知道所有的学生健康服务机构都迫切希望提供这些疫苗。所以我放任自己进行了一点点浮夸的说教,我说成千上万的人死于流感——以及还有成千上万的人会在流感季节结束前死亡。我想知道,这些为什么不会吓到他们——至少没有让他们去打流感疫苗?为什么武汉的一些肺炎病例——以及一些死亡病例(当时还不到10例)——却可怕得多?
        If I had held up a syringe full of some unknown mixture and announced that it was an untested compound that might protect against the Wuhan virus, would people have knocked one another over in the race to get injected?        如果我拿起一个注射器,里面装满某种未知混合物,宣布它是一种未经测试的化合物,可能可以抵御武汉病毒,人们会争相去注射它吗?
        Well, things moved fast, and they only got scarier. The students got updates from the university, and more worried messages from their parents, and the news out of Wuhan got worse. I had seen Wuhan as far away, but the parents, much farther away, saw it as very close — and in some ways, they were right. And cases were beginning to be reported from other countries in Asia.        事态发展得很快,而且变得更加可怕。学生们收到来自学校的最新消息,也收到来自父母更多的忧虑,来自武汉的消息则变得更糟。我觉得武汉离我很远,但我父母觉得武汉离我很近,而且在某些方面,他们是对的。亚洲其他国家也开始报告病例。
        Halfway through the three-week course, I checked and confirmed that no human-to-human transmission had been reported at that point, and explained to the students why that was reassuring — but also, given the history of viruses that have jumped from animals to humans, like SARS, why it needed to be monitored, and might change. And sure enough, at the beginning of the third and last week of classes, human-to-human transmission was confirmed.        在为期三周的课程中途,我检查并确认没有人传人的报告,并且向学生们解释为什么这个消息是可靠的——但同时,由于病毒有从动物传给人类的历史,就像SARS,所以也需要密切注意,而且情况可能会改变。果不其然,在第三周也就是最后一周的课程开始时,病毒被证实可以人传人。
        The students who did get sick with the usual January respiratory illnesses were frightened. They got checked out, they got treated, and they had to sit through another lecture from me about getting that flu shot — not because it would protect them against this new infection, but because anyone who came down with influenza would now be terrified it might be the new coronavirus. And because influenza is also a serious illness, and there will continue to be a lot of it around.        在1月感染了呼吸系统疾病的学生都吓坏了。他们都做了检查,接受治疗,然后耐着性子再次听我展开关于流感疫苗的说教——不是因为流感疫苗能让他们免于感染新病毒,而是因为现在患了流感的人会害怕可能是患上了新的冠状病毒;因为流感也是一种严重的疾病,而且之后还会继续有大量流感。
        The day before the course ended, as everyone was packing up to leave, the city of Wuhan was closed to air travel and other forms of transport, essentially locked down. What had seemed kind of unimaginable a week before suddenly seemed very close. Was it possible the travel ban would extend to all of China? And was the Wuhan quarantine an extreme measure, or was it too little too late?        在课程结束的前一天,所有人都在收拾行李准备离开时,武汉市关闭了航空旅行和其他形式的交通工具,基本上封锁了整座城市。一周前似乎难以想象的事情突然变得近在眼前。旅行禁令有可能扩展到全中国吗?武汉的隔离是一个极端的措施,还是太不得力、为时已晚?
        The story was changing every day — new information, new anxieties. Chinese New Year celebrations were being scaled down or canceled in many parts of China. New cases were being reported from France, Canada, Australia, the United States. Scientific inquiry was proceeding fast, seemingly with good cooperation.        情况每天都在变化——新的信息,新的焦虑。中国许多地方的春节庆祝活动被缩减或取消。法国、加拿大、澳大利亚和美国报告了新病例。科学调查进展迅速,似乎配合得很好。
        We were all told to be sure to get to the airport four hours early, since there would be extra screening measures. In fact, since we were traveling on the eve of the lunar New Year, the airport was pretty empty when we got there, as were the roads on the way — the vacation had begun, no one was working, and most people had already done their traveling and were in place for the holiday. There was a sign at the airport informing us that we were walking through a temperature scanner, but the lines moved quickly.        我们被告知要提前四个小时到达机场,因为会有额外的安检措施。事实上,因为是在春节前夕旅行,我们到达时,机场空荡荡的,去机场的路上也是一样——假期已经开始,没人上班,大多数人已经在旅行和度假。机场有一个标志告诉我们,我们正在通过温度扫描仪,但是队伍移动得很快。
        Everyone was wearing masks, from basic surgical masks, which were being handed out in hotels and offices, to much more elaborate closefitting masks with respirators in them. There are reports that the masks don’t help, but it’s probably fair to say that they decrease, but don’t eliminate, the chance of infection. And there was a very definite getting-out-of-Dodge feeling as we boarded the airplane (never mind that airplanes — with their recycled air — are actually very effective settings for the spread of respiratory infections) and took off. Some people took their masks off, others kept them on for the whole 14 hours. No one was coughing on the flight.        所有人都戴着口罩,从酒店和办公室分发的普通外科口罩到带呼吸装置的精致贴面口罩。有报道说口罩没有帮助,但是公平地说,它们虽然不能彻底消除感染,但也能降低感染机率。登机和起飞的时候,旅客们显然有种逃出生天的感觉(尽管飞机——以及机上的空气循环系统——实际上是非常有效的呼吸道感染传播场所)。有些人摘下口罩,也有人在整个14个小时飞行中一直戴着。飞机上没有人咳嗽。
        When I left Shanghai on Friday, no deaths from the virus had been reported there. By Sunday, the city’s first death had been reported. On the way to the airport, I read the notice from the hospital in New York where I see pediatric patients, giving us the city guidelines for screening patients, checking travel histories, isolating people with fever and lower respiratory symptoms, along with a history of travel from Wuhan, or contact with a person who may have the virus.        当我周五离开上海时,那里还没有死于这种病毒的报道。到周日为止,该市已报道了首例死亡病例。在去机场的路上,我读到我在纽约给儿科患者问诊医院的通知,是纽约市病人筛查指南:检查旅行史,隔离发烧和出现下呼吸道症状的患者,隔离近期曾往武汉旅行或与可能携带病毒者接触过的人。
        There was something ironic, of course, about the idea of coming back from China to what might be a higher exposure risk (lots of sick people in a hospital). Everyone who works in a health care setting has seen some version of this over and over (we still have the signs up about screening for Ebola). New viruses do appear, and you never know what a virus is going to do, but you have to take the information you have and do your best. (And at least, at the clinic, everyone gets a flu shot.)        当然,从中国回国,却可能面临更高的接触风险(医院里有很多病人),这有点讽刺意味。所有在医疗机构工作的人都反复经历过这种事(我们仍然贴着关于埃博拉筛查的公告)。新的病毒还会出现,你永远不知道病毒会做什么,但你必须利用已有的信息,尽最大努力。(至少,在诊所里,所有人都打了流感疫苗。)
        So there was also something very comforting in the matter-of-fact directions. And oddly, maybe especially in the very matter-of-fact statement, “Please note, all guidance is subject to change as additional information becomes available.”        因此,平铺直叙的指示中有种令人宽慰的东西。奇怪的是,这句非常平铺直叙的话可能尤其有效果:“请注意,所有的建议都可能随着其他信息的出现而改变。”
                
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