立場新聞 Stand News


2020/2/26 — 11:37

當我們減慢武漢肺炎的傳播速度,世界各國需要檢討他們的醫療系統。武漢肺炎傳染性高,將會傳播到世界各地。即使我們能夠減慢它的傳播速度,但並不能完全遏止它。COVID-19 嚴重影響肺功能,健康人士的身體很快就能製造出抗體,但本身有其他疾病的人非常高危,尤其是因吸煙及空氣污染令肺部受傷的人。







英文版本 :The world needs to get ready

While we slow down the Wuhan Coronavirus every country needs to quickly rethink their healthcare systems. The Wuhan Coronavirus will go around the world. It is highly contagious. We can and must slow it down but we will not be able to stop it.

COVID-19 impacts the lung function. Healthy people develop antibodies quickly. But people with underlying diseases and especially those with lungs damaged by smoking and air pollution are at severe risk. Close contact on a cruise ship, at a hot pot party, retirement dinner, family gathering, church group, temple, prison and especially in hospitals has shown to be a fertile circumstance for transmission.

The virus can spread from people who have no signs of any ailment yet, and some may never show signs as they develop antibodies quickly. The problem is that those who become sick start coughing and spluttering the virus around them. Seeking help from doctors and hospitals when they start to have breathing problems the sick quickly overwhelm the traditional healthcare systems which do not have the facilities, staff and procedures to cope. We have seen this in many cities in Hubei province, in Japan’s difficulty in handling the cruise ship, in Daegu and nearby cities in Korea, and now also in Italy and Iran. Shutting down economic and social activities including much of its traffic across the boundary with China and with the rest of the world, together with a very diligent population highly conscious of hygiene grounded in the 2003 SARS experience, has allowed Hong Kong to control infections.

However, this is hard to achieve in other countries and unsustainable over time. We need to normalize the economy before we destroy more businesses and more jobs. If we don’t, more people will die of stress and poverty than from the coronavirus. Keeping a balance between the virus and the economy is a tough game and will challenge local, national and global governance mechanisms.

I have seen scepticism among overseas specialists who believe the response to the virus is overblown and stimulated by the pharmaceutical industry. They should not be misled by the low numbers in Hong Kong, and the low percentages reported on the Mainland. These are achieved with extreme measures which are entirely unsustainable economically. Rolling such measures out around the world as we have already seen in parts of Italy and Korea is going to aggravate the economic implications quickly globally. It is thus imperative on all countries and cities around the world to very quickly strengthen their healthcare resources and capacity to cope with a sharp increase in highly infectious pneumonia patients. We simply can’t shut down the whole world. The world needs to get ready.