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【武漢肺炎】總不能讓全世界停頓下來,全世界都要準備就緒

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。

人與人的密集接觸,例如:在郵輪、火鍋派對、退休晚宴、家庭聚會、教會組織、寺廟、監獄以及醫院,是病毒傳播的最佳土壤。病毒可以寄宿於未有病徵的人身上,甚至有人製造抗體快如閃電,成為帶菌者而不自知。而問題在於發病者會開始咳嗽,傳播病毒,直至呼吸困難才向醫護求診。

當傳統醫療系統未有足夠設施、人手及程序處理這些病人時,醫療系統的壓力就會大大增加。我們在不少地方已經見到上述問題,例如湖北省、日本處理鑽石公主號、大邱市及其他鄰近韓國地區,乃至最近意大利及伊朗。

廣告

香港人在03沙士一疫後,有非常高的衛生意識,再加上停止社會各種活動,包括與中國及其他國家的來往,令香港的疫情得以受控。可是這些措施並不持久,在某些國家亦較難實施,我們需要穩定經濟,免得破壞更多商業活動及工作。不然,比起肺炎,更多人會死於壓力及貧窮。要在控制疫情及經濟中取一個平衡是非常困難,並會挑戰本地、國家及全球管治機制。

我有見過海外學者指今次對疫情的反應過大,是由製藥公司所激發的。他們大概是被香港的感染人數低及大陸的低百分點所誤導了。這些數字都是因為有這些經濟上並不能持續的極端措施。若在全世界推行這些措施,如意大利及韓國,將會迅速對環球經濟構成壓力。故此,全球國家及城市都必須盡快加強其醫療系統,以應對急速上升的高傳染性肺炎病人。我們總不能讓全世界停頓下來,全世界都要準備就緒。

廣告

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.

(中文標題為編輯所擬)

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