COVID-19 remains an ongoing threat and the U.S. has just reached a tragic milestone in the pandemic that may not get much attention. The COVID-19 death rate in the U.S. has now passed 340 per million residents, just over 100 times the rate in China.

COVID-19依然是一個持續的威脅,美國剛剛在這場流行病中達成了一個可能不會引起太多關注的悲慘里程碑。美國的COVID-19死亡率已經超過了每百萬人口340人,是中國的100多倍。


The stark disparity in COVID-19 death rates between the U.S. and other countries illustrates the enormous difference between the effectiveness of the U.S. and successful countries’ responses to the pandemic.

美國和其他國家在COVID-19死亡率上的巨大差異顯示了美國和成功應對疫情的國家在效能上的巨大差距。

Let’s start with China, where the first suspected case of COVID-19 emerged on Dec. 8, 2019. By Dec. 31, Chinese authorities had informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about the threat. By Jan. 12, Chinese scientists had identified the virus that causes the illness and shared its genetic sequence with the world so that all countries could develop COVID-19 tests and begin working on a vaccine.

讓我們從中國開始,2019年12月8日,中國出現了第一例疑似COVID-19病例。截至12月31日,中國已向世界衛生組織(WHO)通報了這一威脅。到1月12日,中國科學家已經確定了導致這種疾病的病毒,并與世界分享了它的基因序列,以便所有國家都能進行COVID-19檢測并開始研制疫苗。


Of course, the number of reported deaths in China may well be an undercount. This number has been revised upwards at least once before, and it is likely to remain in flux for some time. But this under-counting and flux are also true for the U.S. Even with under-counting, the fact remains that China’s death rate is of the order of 100 times lower than the U.S. rate.

當然,中國報告的死亡人數...。這個數字之前至少有過一次向上修正,而且可能會持續變動一段時間。但美國也同樣有少計和變動的情況。即使少計了死亡病例,事實仍然是中國的死亡率比美國低100倍左右。

Other countries in the East Asia and Pacific region that kept their death rates low used similar control measures to those used by China. They also launched aggressive “test and trace,” social distancing, and mask-wearing campaigns. The U.S., meanwhile, squandered its opportunity to get ahead of the virus. For at least six weeks after the first cases of COVID-19 arrived in the U.S., the federal government—and most state governments—made no attempt to put in place measures like stay-at-home orders, aggressive testing, isolation, contact tracing, or quarantine. Financial barriers to isolation and care remain. This sluggish response gave the virus weeks to spread unfettered and virtually undetected.

東亞和太平洋地區其他保持低死亡率的國家也采取了與中國類似的控制措施。他們還發起了積極的“測試和追蹤”、社交距離和戴口罩運動。與此同時,美國浪費了戰勝病毒的機會。在第一批COVID-19病例抵達美國后的至少六周內,聯邦政府和大多數州政府都沒有試圖采取措施,如在家辦公、積極的檢測、隔離、接觸者的追蹤或隔離。隔離和護理的財政障礙依然存在。這種緩慢的反應使病毒在數周內不受限制地傳播,幾乎不被發現。

The result? The U.S. now has the most COVID-19 cases and the most deaths of any country in the world. The two hardest hit states have been New York (almost 3 in 10 U.S. deaths) and New Jersey (1 in 10 deaths). Even when controlling for population size, the U.S. remains among the countries with the highest number of new cases and new deaths per day – in the company of Brazil, Russia, and Sweden.

結果呢?美國現在是世界上COVID-19病例最多、死亡人數最多的國家。受災最嚴重的兩個州是紐約(幾乎是美國死亡人數的十分之三)和新澤西(十分之一)。即使把人口因素控制在內,美國仍然是每天新增病例和死亡人數最多的國家之一,巴西、俄羅斯和瑞典都是其中之一。

Unfortunately, we see little sign that the federal government is mounting the kind of urgent, nationwide, coordinated approach that is needed to reverse current trends. The White House coronavirus testing czar, Admiral Brett Giroir, is standing down, and there are no plans to replace him, even though the U.S. falls woefully short of the number of daily tests that are needed to safely end social distancing. While we are now conducting almost 500,000 tests daily, Harvard researchers concluded that somewhere in the range of 1-10 million tests are needed. Similarly, there is nowhere nearly enough contact tracing in place to get the U.S. epidemic under control. If we assume that five contact tracers are needed for every daily new case (a conservative estimate), only eight states have sufficient tracers.

不幸的是,我們沒有看到任何跡象表明聯邦政府正在采取一種緊急的、全國性的、協調一致的方法來扭轉目前的趨勢。盡管美國嚴重缺乏安全結束社交距離所需的每日測試次數,白宮的冠狀病毒測試沙皇,海軍上將布雷特·吉羅伊爾已經下臺,但沒有取代他的計劃。雖然我們現在每天要進行將近50萬次測試,但哈佛大學的研究人員得出的結論是,我們需要每天100萬到1000萬次的測試。同樣,沒有足夠的接觸者追蹤來控制美國的流行病。如果我們假設每一個新病例需要5個接觸追蹤者(保守估計),那么只有8個州有足夠的追蹤者。

The U.S. now faces the dual challenges of safely reopening society and of bringing the epidemic under control. The patchwork of varying state policies and often-contradictory messaging about safety measures, including face masks and social distancing, may well amplify the harms to human health and the economy resulting from a much-delayed initial response.

美國現在面臨著安全地重新開放社會和控制疫情的雙重挑戰。各種各樣的州政策拼湊在一起,關于安全措施(包括口罩和社交距離)的信息往往相互矛盾,這很可能會擴大耽擱了很久的最初反應對人類健康和經濟造成的危害。

The data from China and other countries show that severe loss of life is not inevitable in this pandemic. Countries such as Greece, New Zealand, and Vietnam deploy varying strategies, but common ingredients are early and strong political commitment, a science-based approach, and close adherence to WHO guidelines for testing, contact tracing, and effective isolation measures.

來自中國和其他國家的數據表明,在這種流行病中,嚴重的生命損失并非不可避免。希臘、新西蘭和越南等國采取了不同的策略,但共同的要素是早期和強有力的政治承諾、以科學為基礎的方法,以及密切遵守世衛組織關于檢測、接觸追蹤和有效隔離措施的指導方針。

The hard truth in the U.S.’s sobering death rate during this pandemic is that a great many of those deaths were preventable. Countries that took swift, coordinated action have been largely able to avoid the worst effects of the virus, save thousands of lives, and start to reopen their economies, even though no country is avoiding the inevitable economic pain. The U.S., on the other hand, continues to waste valuable time. Unless it aggressively implements the lessons to be learned from successful nations, we fear the U.S. death rate may rise to 200 times that of China.

在這場大流行病中,美國發人深省的死亡率中的一個殘酷事實是,其中許多死亡是可以阻止的。盡管沒有任何國家能夠避開不可避免的經濟痛苦,但能迅速、協調行動的國家基本上能夠避免病毒的最壞影響,拯救數千人的生命,并開始重啟經濟。另一方面,美國在繼續浪費寶貴的時間。除非它積極地吸取成功國家的教訓,否則我們擔心美國的死亡率可能會上升到中國的200倍。