瀏覽人次 : 105186    回應 : 29
香港的抗疫故事應該是什麼?
 
浪子心聲
2020年2月10日
少出門一次,安全多一分 ~《防疫口號》

2012出版全球暢銷書《人類簡史》作者「尤瓦爾.赫拉利」認為,人類在第二世界大戰結束前,即1945年前,主要面對三大危機引致大量人類死亡:「飢荒」、「瘟疫」和「戰爭」,但隨著20世紀的科技進步,人類已成功地處理這三大問題。今天,「飢餓」造成的死亡人數少於「痴肥」,「瘟疫」造成的死亡人數少於「年老」,死於「暴力」尤其是與戰爭相關的人少於「意外」。

在武漢「新冠肺炎」尚未爆發前,大眾應容易接受這個觀點,但現今新冠狀病毒已引致八百多人死亡及超過三萬確診病例,雖然大多專家認為這新病毒死亡率低於「沙士」,但其傳染性則相當高,有專家認為可達3.8,即一個感染者可傳染3.8個人,近日更有專家認為武漢病毒可經「氣溶膠」傳播,新病毒另一特徵是眾多感染者無病徵或病徵輕微,若發生本地感染,隱形感染者可能眾多,及早隔離難以實行,令防疫難度顯得相當高。

這樣令人對「赫拉利」的觀點產生懷疑,但我個人依然有信心「新冠肺炎」不會如二次大戰前,人類在面對瘟疫時會發生數以千萬人死亡及大量感染,如14世紀歐洲大鼠疫死亡人數達2500萬。最終武漢肺炎可能約在數十萬人感染及數千人死亡範圍之內,其影響可能與嚴重季節性流感的死亡和感染率差不多。

為何信心這麼大,不是對這病毒掉以輕心,依然是基於「赫拉利」的觀點,但不是上述人類已戰勝瘟疫危機,而是《人類簡史》一書中第一個核心觀點,它解答了,「智人」(Sapiens)即人類為何能成為地球最終的統治物種?書中的答案可以簡化為兩個字,就是「合作」,更準確一點的答案是:

      「人類能夠非常靈活地與大量不認識的人類合作」

簡單解釋,人類在「一對一」或「十對十」的情況下,都沒有優勢能勝過其他物種,如獅子、老虎,但歷史證明人類能成千上萬地「合作」消滅地球上任何一種生物,或面對巨大自然環境特變時亦能生存下去。

更重要的觀點,「赫拉利」認為人類為何能這麼「大規模合作」,是因為人類能說「故事」(story),尤其是「虛構的故事」(fiction),在人類歷史上出現許多豐富想像力的故事,凝聚了數以千萬甚至億計的人類,由於他們相信同一個故事,所以在數不相識的情景下一起合作,向著同一目標進發,完成了種種歷史的創舉。宗教是最明顯的例子,更長盡的解說請看《人類簡史》一書。

回到正題,為何對中國能戰勝今次「新冠肺炎」瘟疫有信心,因為中國政府能在國內說得一個好的「抗疫故事」。中央在得知疫情嚴重時,立即封城,雖然有點延誤,現以傾盡全國之力,勢必切斷病毒傳染源。在2019年,中國不幸地不斷面對中美的「貿易戰」、「科技戰」和「金融戰」,在12月中美初步簽訂貿易戰第一階段協議,好像2020年將會一切順利之勢,突然出現「武漢新冠狀病毒爆發」,不論這次瘟疫是否「非自然事件」,筆者認同中國中央政府現已以面對「生化戰」攻擊處理,中國實質已經處於戰時狀態,「中國的抗疫故事主題」是要與這超級病毒打一場「全民戰爭」,針對新冠狀病毒的高傳染性,要最大程度降低人民的流動性,令所有中國人相信這是目前最好的防疫手段,切斷傳染源,把可能存在的患者都找出來,把患者接觸過的人群都找出來,然後隔離起來,要治療就治療,該醫學觀察就醫學觀察。

這好像是不可能的任務,但正如「赫拉利」的觀點,只要大多數的中國人相信這「故事」,便能凝聚14億中國人盡量降低流動性,創造人類史無前例的14億人口的「有限度隔離」,鼓勵人民「盡量少出門」,「盡量不添亂」,「全力支持防疫工作」。從過去兩周,在不同媒體已感受到,內地大多數的中國人都非常接受這故事,大家都非常「合作」,不怨氣盡量留在家中生活,很多網上視頻分享如何在家生活,街上行人不多,市面穩定,沒有爭購食品、口罩等物資。在武漢的視頻更出現數不相識的市民互相幫助,支持防護工作,免費私家車接送醫護人員上班

相反香港並沒有說好自己的「香港抗疫故事」,眾多香港人還在爭相購買廁紙、食米、消毒液等等,老人家更要為買口罩排隊數小時,而香港特首還在為誰可帶口罩、如何為醫護人員提供口罩在煩惱。香港的抗疫故事不應是帶不帶口罩、不是如何洗手等等細節,而應支持中國的抗疫故事,為中國及香港盡早回復正常,打一場「抗疫戰」,鼓勵香港人「盡量在家生活」、「減少人與人接觸」、「盡量不添亂」、「互相幫助」、「全力支持防疫工作」。

可惜香港特首沒說出這樣的「香港抗疫故事」,但香港會說故事的人多的是,香港特區政府應立即僱用有名的「公關公司」、「廣告公司」、「編劇」、「導演」、「明星」等等,以中國的抗疫故事為基礎,為香港創造一個有說服力的故事,在電視、網絡大做宣傳,穩定人心,讓七百多萬香港人「同心協力」一起「合作」,安然渡過這難關。



我要回應
我的稱呼
回應 / 意見
驗証文字
 
登入ID 或 網名 密碼
1. 抗疫故事 2020-02-10 06:09:14
中國成功製造故仔令抗疫成功,
但香港沒有故仔,咁香港咪大楟樂?
2. lol 2020-02-10 08:31:26
先決條件是講古不可以駁古。

3. G 2020-02-10 08:43:09
此乃為何要及時制止謠言的原因。

4. 浪子心聲 2020-02-19 11:00:10
湯博士的「病毒故事」肯定是一個非常有創意的「故事」,講明係虛構故事(Fiction),當然不用fact check喇!

「陰謀論的故事」其實可考慮為在「訊息量不足」時的一種「假設」,若將這些「假設」以邏輯分析,而能推算出與現實境象和動機有相當的相關性,就不得不考慮這個「故事」。

從動機上分析,習主席領導的中央政府放毒的機率不高,因為瘟疫帶來經濟的損失實在過大,現今中央希望能在2020年美國總統大選年,美股必然造好情況下,在港集資的好時機,沒動機放毒。

我個人認為有四個可能符合「現實境象」和「動機」的故事:

「自然現象」:
       (1)「新冠狀病毒是在自然界產生」:這絕對有可能,不得不考慮,但真的是自然現象,中國的運氣就真係非常差,「概率分析」(Probability),中國在2019年同時發生「貿易戰」、「科技戰」、「反送中」,「金融戰」和「武漢病毒」,而假設這些「事件」(event)是「獨立」(independent),其概率實在太低了。 因此不得不考慮,這些事件是有相關性的情況。

「 非自然現象」:在這個情況下有三個可能性
       (2)「實驗室意外泄漏病毒」:這個亦絕對有可能,如果是實驗室人事失誤而產生,但出現的時間在中美達成第一階段協議後發生,真係有點巧合,中國真的運氣差,機率亦算不高。
       (3)「權力鬥爭產生的實驗室泄漏病毒」:由於上述的實驗室失誤而產生的病毒泄漏機率不算很高,從動機推測,這個泄漏是人為的機會亦是有可能,有人為奪權,可能什麼都做得出。
       (4)「美國放毒」:這個不用多說,網上已有很多討論,在動機上,美國亦是絕對有動機發動「生化戰」,在大選年令中國處於不利情況。

以上大多都是虛構故事,讓大家思考一下,你相信那個故事,那個可能性較高,或者大家亦可以提出更有說服力的故事。
5. Pathologists Debunk 13 Coronavirus Myths 2020-02-21 09:33:56

Pathologists Debunk 13 Coronavirus Myths



The coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, originated in Wuhan, China, and has spread to at least 26 other countries. Syra Madad, the senior director of the NYC Health + Hospitals System-wide Special Pathogens Program, and Stephen Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University, debunked 13 of the most common myths about the coronavirus. They explained how packages from China won't make you sick and that getting COVID-19 is not a death sentence. They also debunked the idea that it affects only older people — anyone can get the coronavirus.


6. 日本篤魁 2020-02-23 21:22:45
日本篤魁:新肺炎病毒原來就是在美國首發的奪命流感病毒

美國的流感侵襲,根據美國疾病控制與預防中心(CDC)發表,有2600萬人患上了流感,已造成1.4萬人的死亡,因為許多常人並沒有把流感當作是什麼大病,從而掉以輕心沒有去治療,而一些有基礎病的人,又或者是孩童,孕婦等抵抗力較弱的人,一旦患上流感很可能會危險,甚至是喪命。

而就在昨晚,朝日電視台報道了一則有關美國流感的新聞,以下為朝日電視台報道:
美國流感肆意,已造成1.4萬人以上的死亡,在這麼多流感的患者當中,很有可能出現了新型肺炎的感染者。



美國疾病控制與預防中心(CDC)發表了驚人的消息:對從疑似流感的患者身上采集到的樣本進行檢查,結果發現許多患者並非患有流感。





“我們得出的結果,判定它不是流感,可能是新冠肺炎。”



目前,紐約和洛杉磯等大城市開始重新評估現有的檢測體制,如果沒有掌握感染的實際情況,即便是美國也可能會出現這樣的情況,而之所有會出現這樣的情況,針對這個,朝日電視台記者採訪了街上的美國民眾,似乎找到了答案。


說實在話,我不怎麼去醫院,即便是很簡單的檢查,也要花不少錢。



保險每個月要交200多美金,去醫院做檢查還要交50美金,反正過幾天他就會自己好了。



根據朝日電視台報道,在2018年美國約2750萬人沒有購買保險,即便是買了保險的人,也有很多人因為醫療費太高在生病的時候選擇不去醫院,自行治愈。



朝日電視台報道,2月7日美國疾病控制與預防中心(CDC)發表:新冠肺炎和流感的症狀十分相似,朝日電視台認為雖然美國疾病控制與預防中心(CDC)沒有直言,但是很多聲音認為,新冠肺炎正在美國擴散,日本網友評論:
7. 張學友《等風雨經過》 2020-02-26 21:36:47
張學友《等風雨經過》
8. 李居明 2020-02-28 09:10:05
李居明:只要全港電視台重播《龍珠》,就可以化解呢場疫症

為什麼到今時今日仍有娥粉呢?試以李居明大師為例。日前拙文見報後,友人告訴我:「上星期無意中聽收音機 ,李居明話今次疫情有兩個生肖可以避過 ,一個係龍,一個係牛,佢話龍喺火中出世, 可以抗疫。咁香港點樣化解呢場疫症呢?大師話只要電視台同心做一樣嘢,就冇問題,佢話:『只要全港電視台重播《龍珠》,就可以化解呢場疫症。』聽落佢唔似講笑,而係好認真咁講。」

原來抗疫秘技除了「劍指」,尚有《龍珠》!據說,李大師至今依然粉絲眾多,尤其是在大陸。林鄭的「成功」之道跟大師一樣:只要有「關鍵白癡」支持,那就夠了。白癡不必人多,最重要是他們有錢,或有槍。

==============================

來源:https://lih.kg/1900515
以上內容皆為轉發,只供備份參考。上述內容並不代表本站立場。
9. 娥粉 2020-02-28 09:48:49
如果覺得被點到頭暈嘅, 就盡信 she 不如無 she 啦.
10. 賴岳謙 2020-03-03 00:22:12

《無色覺醒》 賴岳謙 |一場病毒抗疫戰爭?美俄網路輿論開打!|202002

11. 特朗普終於承認 2020-03-06 11:57:40

特朗普終於承認,新冠肺炎就是之前的美國流感

12. 李显龙 2020-03-07 16:44:48
针对新型冠状病毒肺炎疫情,李显龙首度发声,如果出现两种情况,将来轻微病着或不必住院。新加坡应对新型冠状病毒肺炎,总理演讲。

13. 向泛民说不 2020-03-07 20:43:41
民屎国家的神炒作,这个病毒将会像流感一样一直存在,人类要和这个病毒共同生存。

如果是这样,有没有疫苗,那么其实越年轻,越中招,就越好,正如老美所说,对健康的人没有影响,会自己好,然后会有抗体,以后就不怕被感染了。
14. 李显龙 2020-03-12 23:29:16
PM Lee on COVID-19: 
Situation in Singapore under control; not moving DORSCON level to red

15. 外交部發言人趙立堅 2020-03-13 11:29:21
在北京,外交部發言人趙立堅在社文網站Twitter貼文,指可能是美軍將新型冠狀病毒帶到中國武漢,認為美國欠中國一個解釋,要求美國展現透明度,公開數據。

不過,趙立堅未有對他的指控,提供任何證據。
美國國家安全顧問奧布萊恩,早前指控中方在新型肺炎疫情爆發初期,掩蓋疫情,透明度不足,令世界延遲了兩個月去準備。



中國可能掌握了證據;例如當時有五個美國軍人因「流感」入了武漢醫院、及在撤走晒人員之美國領事館花園找到8個盛載危險生化物容器。

新聞來源連結:
https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/ch/component/k2/1514136-20200313.htm?spTabChangeable=0%2525252520
16. 美國傳召中國大使抗議 2020-03-14 12:27:50

美國傳召中國大使抗議外交部發言人指美軍帶病毒到武漢

美國國務院傳召中國駐美大使崔天凱,抗議中國外交部發言人趙立堅,指控美軍可能將新型冠狀病毒帶到中國武漢。中國駐美大使館未有回應。

美國國務院發表聲明指,傳播陰謀論是危險及可笑,為了中國人民及全世界的利益,美國希望向北京當局顯示不會容忍。

趙立堅早前在社交網站上,反擊美國國家安全顧問奧布萊恩指中國隱暪新型冠狀病毒疫情,令世界延遲了兩個月去準備應對,又指可能是美軍將病毒帶到武漢,美國欠中國一個解釋,要求美國展現透明度,公開數據。不過趙立堅未有提供任何證據證明對美軍的指控。

今次好睇, 如果阿爺提出證據, 咁美國佬就要交代幾個發燒軍人返美之後情況, 但係台灣佬傳聞幾條友全部瓜晒 (唔知係肺炎定 CIA滅口). 
19. metroradio.com.hk 2020-03-14 23:38:43

報道說英國計劃先讓六至七成人染病達到群體免疫

14/3/2020 15:25

        英國傳媒說, 英國政府或已放棄遏阻疫情, 改為採取一種大膽的防疫手段, 令到六成至七成人先染病, 康復後, 達到「群體免疫」, 不會再傳染給其他未染病的人, 希望趕在下次冬季來臨前達到目標.
        英國政府首席科學顧問瓦倫斯說, 想徹底壓制疫情是不可能, 因為年底冬季疫情會捲土重來. 英國防疫委員會成員表示, 要建立一定的社區免疫, 可以令到染病風險最高的組群獲得保障.
        英國傳媒說, 群體免疫的原理是靠接種疫苗獲得免疫力, 但利用這種方法應付無疫苗的新冠病毒大流行, 會讓人擔心.
        前世衛官員表示, 群體免疫的做法, 有違世衛組織追蹤所有病例的建議, 強調研究疫苗才是安全得多的方法.



20. 大帝 2020-03-15 00:22:40
如果病毒源自美國,美國鄰國加拿大同墨西哥早在去年11月就爆發啦!再者,台灣封大陸無封美國,如果病毒源自美國,台灣的措施根本無用,但而家台灣措施有效,即證明台灣封咗源頭,顯示病毒來自大陸而非美國!
21. 特朗普同約翰遜真係膽生毛? 2020-03-15 11:24:57
20樓,人家在暗示美國佬在中國播毒,用"推特"講的原因,不想直說只暗示源自美國,所以開頭無需封美國。

如果真係美國播病毒,美國佬很清楚病毒特性,好似特朗普講新冠肺炎難死人,只有老人或長期病患者有較高的死亡率,實質如特朗普所講像一般季節性流感,唔洗醫,佢講宜家無人信,唯有叫個細佬英國講,我哋都唔醫,在無疫苗情況下實行"群體免疫",大家要問,美國和英國佬為何能咁有信心叫人唔洗醫?特朗普同約翰遜真係膽生毛?



22. 推特 2020-03-15 12:07:08
https://youtu.be/bjexyS4DxpU
23. 真係搵鬼信 2020-03-15 12:37:32
特朗普二月中國病毒大爆發時講新冠病毒殺傷力低,不用擔心,就係人類救世主,三月中國成功抗疫美國爆發先講,就係魔鬼,真係搵鬼信。



24. 群體染疫 2020-03-15 16:51:34

英美最新治療方法:群體染疫



25. 達爾文 2020-03-15 22:27:05
「是要物競天擇,讓人自生自滅嗎?」

歐洲國家紛採取「鎖國」禁足或關閉食肆等限制國民的活動,以圍堵武漢肺炎病毒,英國周四公佈防疫措施卻曝露首相約翰遜消極的防疫思維。他除了呼籲民眾注意衞生及出現病徵要在家自我隔離7天外,未有如歐洲國家般實施限制大型集會等措施,學校如常上課,醫療政策專家形容約翰遜此舉猶如一場政治賭博...,有旅居英國的台灣民眾更質疑做法根本像「物競天擇」,任由民眾自生自滅。




英國確診人數3月初開始大爆發,截至周六共有1,140人確診及21人死亡,但街上戴口罩的人依舊屈指可數。政府周四公佈的防疫措施幾乎等同「沒有措施」,美國有線新聞網絡形容約翰遜的做法矛盾,一方面指英國正面對「這一世代以來最嚴重的公共衞生危機」,國民要準備「失去摯愛的親友」,卻沒有如歐洲鄰國般實施相應的嚴格預防措施,有旅英台灣人深感不滿,質問:「是要物競天擇,讓人自生自滅嗎?」更有人諷刺道:「差點忘了,達爾文就是英國人嘛。」約翰遜周四與專家在記者會上公佈措施,儘管專家估計英國可能有5,000至一萬人染病,但政府僅要求出現持續咳嗽或高溫症狀的人先行自我隔離7天,呼籲長者不要經常外出,其他配套政策可說是零。英格蘭首席醫療官惠蒂(Chris Whitty)更說疑似感染者不會接受新型冠狀病毒篩檢,檢測會以已住院者優先。有網民對英國的方案感不滿,指歐洲各國應變措施中,只有英國「不關閉學校」、「不關閉餐廳」、「不全面禁止體育賽事」、「不禁大型集會」,也沒有旅遊禁令,根本是「全無」措施。倫敦經濟學院全球醫療政策助理教授溫漢姆(Clare Wenham)估計,英國政府不希望引起民眾恐慌,以及希望公眾配合防疫措施才沒有大動作,「他(約翰遜)沒有如特朗普般做事及關閉邊境,我們知道這是沒有效果的,他現在採取一個相當權宜之計——但是,這是一場賭博。如果他們誤判情況就是一場政治賭博,如果所有實施停課、禁大眾旅遊及大型集會的國會出現確診人數下降,而英國上升的話——這是賭博」。
 
英國傳媒也開始討論政府用意,指當局雖然沒有明言,但背後其實是任由大多數民眾染病,然後可以免疫,是極危險的防疫策略。許多專家批評英國政策太過鬆散,是拿人命開玩笑,急增的死亡人數將令約翰遜生備受壓力,有消息指政府下周將宣佈提升防疫計劃,禁止群眾集會,但會否有其他措施仍不得而知。
26. Yuval Harari 2020-03-16 14:13:32
To defeat an epidemic, people need to trust scientific experts, citizens need to trust public authorities, and countries need to trust each other.

Over the last few years, irresponsible politicians have deliberately undermined trust in science, in public authorities and in international cooperation.

To prevent a catastrophe we need to regain the trust we have lost. You cannot defeat a global epidemic through propaganda and isolation. The real antidote is scientific knowledge and global cooperation.

Yuval Harari
27. Yuval Harari 2020-03-16 16:18:05

In the Battle Against Coronavirus, Humanity Lacks Leadership

Many people blame the coronavirus epidemic on globalization, and say that the only way to prevent more such outbreaks is to de-globalize the world. Build walls, restrict travel, reduce trade. However, while short-term quarantine is essential to stop epidemics, long-term isolationism will lead to economic collapse without offering any real protection against infectious diseases. Just the opposite. The real antidote to epidemic is not segregation, but rather cooperation.

Epidemics killed millions of people long before the current age of globalization. In the 14th century there were no airplanes and cruise ships, and yet the Black Death spread from East Asia to Western Europe in little more than a decade. It killed between 75 million and 200 million people – more than a quarter of the population of Eurasia. In England, four out of ten people died. The city of Florence lost 50,000 of its 100,000 inhabitants.

In March 1520, a single smallpox carrier – Francisco de Eguía – landed in Mexico. At the time, Central America had no trains, buses or even donkeys. Yet by December a smallpox epidemic devastated the whole of Central America, killing according to some estimates up to a third of its population.

In 1918 a particularly virulent strain of flu managed to spread within a few months to the remotest corners of the world. It infected half a billion people – more than a quarter of the human species. It is estimated that the flu killed 5% of the population of India. On the island of Tahiti 14% died. On Samoa 20%. Altogether the pandemic killed tens of millions of people – and perhaps as high as 100 million – in less than a year. More than the First World War killed in four years of brutal fighting.

In the century that passed since 1918, humankind became ever more vulnerable to epidemics, due to a combination of growing populations and better transport. A modern metropolis such as Tokyo or Mexico City offers pathogens far richer hunting grounds than medieval Florence, and the global transport network is today far faster than in 1918. A virus can make its way from Paris to Tokyo and Mexico City in less than 24 hours. We should therefore have expected to live in an infectious hell, with one deadly plague after another.

However, both the incidence and impact of epidemics have actually gone down dramatically. Despite horrendous outbreaks such as AIDS and Ebola, in the twenty-first century epidemics kill a far smaller proportion of humans than in any previous time since the Stone Age. This is because the best defense humans have against pathogens is not isolation – it is information. Humanity has been winning the war against epidemics because in the arms race between pathogens and doctors, pathogens rely on blind mutations while doctors rely on the scientific analysis of information.

An influenza camp, where patients were given "fresh air treatment," in 1918.

Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Winning the War on Pathogens

When the Black Death struck in the 14th century, people had no idea what causes it and what could be done about it. Until the modern era, humans usually blamed diseases on angry gods, malicious demons or bad air, and did not even suspect the existence of bacteria and viruses. People believed in angels and fairies, but they could not imagine that a single drop of water might contain an entire armada of deadly predators. Therefore when the Black Death or smallpox came to visit, the best thing the authorities could think of doing was organizing mass prayers to various gods and saints. It didn’t help. Indeed, when people gathered together for mass prayers, it often caused mass infections.

During the last century, scientists, doctors and nurses throughout the world pooled information and together managed to understand both the mechanism behind epidemics and the means of countering them. The theory of evolution explained why and how new diseases erupt and old diseases become more virulent. Genetics enabled scientists to spy on the pathogens’ own instruction manual. While medieval people never discovered what caused the Black Death, it took scientists just two weeks to identify the novel coronavirus, sequence its genome and develop a reliable test to identify infected people.

Once scientists understood what causes epidemics, it became much easier to fight them. Vaccinations, antibiotics, improved hygiene, and a much better medical infrastructure have allowed humanity to gain the upper hand over its invisible predators. In 1967, smallpox still infected 15 million people and killed 2 million of them. But in the following decade a global campaign of smallpox vaccination was so successful, that in 1979 the World Health Organization declared that humanity had won, and that smallpox had been completely eradicated. In 2019 not a single person was either infected or killed by smallpox.

A sparse international departures terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on March 7. Days later, as concerns over the coronavirus grew, President Trump announced restrictions on travelers from Europe.

Spencer Platt—Getty Images

Guard Our Border

What does this history teach us for the current Coronavirus epidemic?

First, it implies that you cannot protect yourself by permanently closing your borders. Remember that epidemics spread rapidly even in the Middle Ages, long before the age of globalization. So even if you reduce your global connections to the level of England in 1348 – that still would not be enough. To really protect yourself through isolation, going medieval won’t do. You would have to go full Stone Age. Can you do that?

Secondly, history indicates that real protection comes from the sharing of reliable scientific information, and from global solidarity. When one country is struck by an epidemic, it should be willing to honestly share information about the outbreak without fear of economic catastrophe – while other countries should be able to trust that information, and should be willing to extend a helping hand rather than ostracize the victim. Today, China can teach countries all over the world many important lessons about coronavirus, but this demands a high level of international trust and cooperation.

International cooperation is needed also for effective quarantine measures. Quarantine and lock-down are essential for stopping the spread of epidemics. But when countries distrust one another and each country feels that it is on its own, governments hesitate to take such drastic measures. If you discover 100 coronavirus cases in your country, would you immediately lock down entire cities and regions? To a large extent, that depends on what you expect from other countries. Locking down your own cities could lead to economic collapse. If you think that other countries will then come to your help – you will be more likely to adopt this drastic measure. But if you think that other countries will abandon you, you would probably hesitate until it is too late.

Perhaps the most important thing people should realize about such epidemics, is that the spread of the epidemic in any country endangers the entire human species. This is because viruses evolve. Viruses like the corona originate in animals, such as bats. When they jump to humans, initially the viruses are ill-adapted to their human hosts. While replicating within humans, the viruses occasionally undergo mutations. Most mutations are harmless. But every now and then a mutation makes the virus more infectious or more resistant to the human immune system – and this mutant strain of the virus will then rapidly spread in the human population. Since a single person might host trillions of virus particles that undergo constant replication, every infected person gives the virus trillions of new opportunities to become more adapted to humans. Each human carrier is like a gambling machine that gives the virus trillions of lottery tickets – and the virus needs to draw just one winning ticket in order to thrive .

This is not mere speculation. Richard Preston’s Crisis in the Red Zone describes exactly such a chain of events in the 2014 Ebola outbreak. The outbreak began when some Ebola viruses jumped from a bat to a human. These viruses made people very sick, but they were still adapted to living inside bats more than to the human body. What turned Ebola from a relatively rare disease into a raging epidemic was a single mutation in a single gene in one Ebola virus that infected a single human, somewhere in the Makona area of West Africa. The mutation enabled the mutant Ebola strain – called the Makona strain – to link to the cholesterol transporters of human cells. Now, instead of cholesterol, the transporters were pulling Ebola into the cells. This new Makona strain was four times more infectious to humans.

As you read these lines, perhaps a similar mutation is taking place in a single gene in the coronavirus that infected some person in Tehran, Milan or Wuhan. If this is indeed happening, this is a direct threat not just to Iranians, Italians or Chinese, but to your life, too. People all over the world share a life-and-death interest not to give the coronavirus such an opportunity. And that means that we need to protect every person in every country.

In the 1970s humanity managed to defeat the smallpox virus because all people in all countries were vaccinated against smallpox. If even one country failed to vaccinate its population, it could have endangered the whole of humankind, because as long as the smallpox virus existed and evolved somewhere, it could always spread again everywhere.

In the fight against viruses, humanity needs to closely guard borders. But not the borders between countries. Rather, it needs to guard the border between the human world and the virus-sphere. Planet earth is teaming with countless viruses, and new viruses are constantly evolving due to genetic mutations. The borderline separating this virus-sphere from the human world passes inside the body of each and every human being. If a dangerous virus manages to penetrate this border anywhere on earth, it puts the whole human species in danger.

Over the last century, humanity has fortified this border like never before. Modern healthcare systems have been built to serve as a wall on that border, and nurses, doctors and scientists are the guards who patrol it and repel intruders. However, long sections of this border have been left woefully exposed. There are hundreds of millions of people around the world who lack even basic healthcare services. This endangers all of us. We are used to thinking about health in national terms, but providing better healthcare for Iranians and Chinese helps protect Israelis and Americans too from epidemics. This simple truth should be obvious to everyone, but unfortunately it escapes even some of the most important people in the world.

President Trump leaves the podium after announcing a national emergency during a news conference about the coronavirus at the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 13.

Alex Brandon—AP

A Leaderless World

Today humanity faces an acute crisis not only due to the coronavirus, but also due to the lack of trust between humans. To defeat an epidemic, people need to trust scientific experts, citizens need to trust public authorities, and countries need to trust each another. Over the last few years, irresponsible politicians have deliberately undermined trust in science, in public authorities and in international cooperation. As a result, we are now facing this crisis bereft of global leaders that can inspire, organize and finance a coordinated global response.

During the 2014 Ebola epidemic, the U.S. served as that kind of leader. The U.S. fulfilled a similar role also during the 2008 financial crisis, when it rallied behind it enough countries to prevent global economic meltdown. But in recent years the U.S. has resigned its role as global leader. The current U.S. administration has cut support for international organizations like the World Health Organization, and has made it very clear to the world that the U.S. no longer has any real friends – it has only interests. When the coronavirus crisis erupted, the U.S. stayed on the sidelines, and has so far refrained from taking a leading role. Even if it eventually tries to assume leadership, trust in the current U.S. administration has been eroded to such an extent, that few countries would be willing to follow it. Would you follow a leader whose motto is “Me First”?

The void left by the U.S. has not been filled by anyone else. Just the opposite. Xenophobia, isolationism and distrust now characterize most of the international system. Without trust and global solidarity we will not be able to stop the coronavirus epidemic, and we are likely to see more such epidemics in future. But every crisis is also an opportunity. Hopefully the current epidemic will help humankind realize the acute danger posed by global disunity.

To take one prominent example, the epidemic could be a golden opportunity for the E.U. to regain the popular support it has lost in recent years. If the more fortunate members of the E.U. swiftly and generously send money, equipment and medical personnel to help their hardest-hit colleagues, this would prove the worth of the European ideal better than any number of speeches. If, on the other hand, each country is left to fend for itself, then the epidemic might sound the death-knell of the union.

In this moment of crisis, the crucial struggle takes place within humanity itself. If this epidemic results in greater disunity and mistrust among humans, it will be the virus’s greatest victory. When humans squabble – viruses double. In contrast, if the epidemic results in closer global cooperation, it will be a victory not only against the coronavirus, but against all future pathogens.

Copyright © Yuval Noah Harari 2020

Contact us at editors@time.com.

28. 大鄉里 2020-03-17 02:03:10
群體染疫看似合理,但不道德,因越多人染疫,病毒再變種的機會越大,絕對危險。

29. 鍾南山 2020-03-18 21:29:18

鍾南山:無證據顯示感染後永遠免疫 集體免疫不可行

【Now新聞台】國家衞健委高級別專家組組長鍾南山表示,目前未有證據顯示一次感染新型冠狀病毒後就會永遠免疫,認為不能夠以集體免疫方式抗疫。

鍾南山並表示新型肺炎傳染性較沙士和中東呼吸綜合症都要高,死亡率亦高於流感,目前仍未發現療效滿意的藥物,最重要是國際間合作,盡快完成研製疫苗。

他認為武漢於疫情初期防護意識不夠,防護裝備亦不夠,導致比較多醫護人員受感染。他提醒外國醫護人員要做好防護,同時追查感染源頭防疫,建議外國不要等到疑似患者出現病徵才去處理,疑似患者家人或親密接觸者亦要提早檢測和隔離。


31. 浪子心聲 2020-03-30 17:29:43
從美國國家利益的動基及特朗普個人的作風,我個人依然認為不應排除病毒來自美國的可能性。

假設新冠病毒來自美國及有意在中國播毒,美國方面應很清楚這病毒的特性,尤如特朗普常說「這病毒死亡率低」,只會令老人或長期病患者有較高死亡率,實質如特朗普所說是一般季節性流感,不需要「解藥」,但在大眾不明病毒特性時,可產生極度恐慌,中國在一月和二月期間就是這情況,但現今應對其特性有一定的掌握才開始考慮復工。

美國可能萬萬想不到中國14億人口能做到「有限度隔離」,在兩個月內就能把疫情控制下來,現今世衛已宣佈新冠肺炎是「全球大流行」,已令全球產生恐慌,再來美股四度熔斷,已下趺超過一萬點,美國今次真的可以好大鑊。

如果這是真的,今次可能像二次大戰的日本偷襲珍珠港,日本以為可以大大打擊美軍實力,但反而讓美國這已擁有強大軍事和科技實力的國家,理直氣壯參與第二次世界大戰,喚醒這巨龍。

正如《人類簡史》作者「尤瓦爾.赫拉利」在談到核戰的可能性時,常說:「不要低估人類的愚蠢程度。」

美國政府的Deep State或特朗普真有可能相信這「低殺傷力的冠狀病毒」可以大大打擊中國,但現今反而讓中國這巨龍理直氣壯參與這第三次世界大戰,從歷史角度看,戰結是顯而易見的。
32. Yuval Harari 2020-04-02 11:19:48

Homo Deus author Yuval Harari shares pandemic lessons from past and warnings for future

1 April 2020

In contrast, when the coronavirus epidemic began, it took scientists just two weeks to identify the novel virus, sequence its genome and develop a reliable test to identify infected people. Doctors are winning the arms race with pathogens, because pathogens rely on blind mutations, while doctors rely on information. Countries can send information, experts and equipment to help one another contain the plague. Governments and banks can work out a common plan to prevent economic collapse.

However, there is one big caveat. The fact that humanity has the power to rein in plagues, does not mean it always has the wisdom to use that power well. In 2015 I wrote in Homo Deus that “while we cannot be certain that some new Ebola outbreak or an unknown flu strain won’t sweep across the globe and kill millions, we will not regard it as an inevitable natural calamity. Rather, we will see it as an inexcusable human failure and demand the heads of those responsible. … humankind has the knowledge and tools to prevent plagues, and if an epidemic nevertheless gets out of control, it is due to human incompetence rather than divine anger.”

I think these words still hold true today. What we are seeing around the world now is not an inevitable natural disaster. It is a human failure. Irresponsible governments neglected their health care systems, failed to react on time, and are at present still failing to cooperate effectively on a global level. We have the power to stop this, but so far we lack the necessary wisdom.

Q: China is attempting to portray its success at controlling the epidemic, saying it has largely stamped out domestic spread. Are authoritarian regimes, which can enforce lockdowns, better equipped to deal with pandemics than Western democracies?

Not necessarily. It is easier to deal with an epidemic if you can rely on a self-motivated and well-informed population than if you have to police an ignorant and suspicious population. Can you make millions of people wash their hands with soap every day by placing policemen or cameras in their toilets? That’s very difficult. But if you educate people, and if people trust the information they get, they can do the right thing on their own initiative.

I learned in school that viruses and bacteria cause disease. I learned that washing my hands with soap can remove or kill these pathogens. I trust this information. So I wash my hands of my own volition. And so do billions of other people.

The problem is that in recent years, populist politicians in many countries – including democratic countries – have deliberately undermined people’s trust in science, in the media, and in public authorities. Without such trust, people aren’t sure what to do. The solution is not to impose an authoritarian regime. The solution is to rebuild trust in science, in the media and in public authorities. Once you have such trust, you can rely on people to do the right thing even without constant surveillance and fear of punishment.

Q: We’ve seen countries like China using smartphones and apps to collect citizens’ location and health data to fight the epidemic. Could global pandemics drive the development of a more biometric state?

Yes, that is a major danger. The coronavirus epidemic might mark an important watershed in the history of surveillance. First, because it might legitimate and normalise the deployment of mass surveillance tools in countries that have so far rejected them. Secondly, and even more importantly, it signifies a dramatic transition from “over the skin” to “under the skin” surveillance. Previously, governments monitored mainly your actions in the world – where you go, who you meet. Now they become more interested in what is happening inside your body. In your medical condition, body temperature, blood pressure. That kind of biometric information can tell the government far more about you than ever before.

Imagine some totalitarian state in 10 years that requires every citizen to wear a biometric bracelet that monitors you 24 hours a day. By using our growing understanding of the human body and brain, and using the immense powers of machine learning, the regime might be able for the first time in history to know what each and every citizen is feeling each and every moment. If you listen to a speech of the Great Leader on Television, and the biometric sensors pick up the telltale signs of anger (higher blood pressure, slight rise in body temperature, increased activity in the amygdala), you’ll be in deep trouble. You could smile and clap your hands mechanically, but if you are actually angry, the regime will know that.

Governments might argue that this dystopian scenario has nothing to do with the current measures being taken to combat Covid-19. These are just temporary measures taken during a state of emergency. But temporary measures have a nasty habit of outlasting emergencies, especially as there is always a new emergency lurking on the horizon. Even when coronavirus cases are down to zero, some governments might argue that they need to keep the new surveillance systems because they fear a second wave of coronavirus, or because there is a new Ebola strain evolving in central Africa, or because they want to protect people from seasonal flu. Why stop with halting coronavirus?

A big battle has been raging in recent years over our privacy. The coronavirus crisis could be the battle’s tipping point. For when people are given a choice between privacy and health, they will usually choose health. But asking people to choose between privacy and health is, in fact, the very root of the problem. This is a false dichotomy. We can and should enjoy both privacy and health. We can choose to protect our health and stop the coronavirus epidemic not by instituting totalitarian surveillance regimes, but rather by educating and empowering citizens. Remember that when people have a good scientific education, and when they trust public authorities to tell them the truth, people can do the right thing on their own initiative.

Q: Some countries, such as the US and those in Europe, were slow to act even though they had months to prepare while the epidemic raged in China before spreading. What should we learn from this? 

I hope the main lesson from this epidemic is that people realise that we are all in this together. This isn’t a Chinese crisis or an Italian crisis, it is a global crisis. People all over the world share the same experiences, fears and interests. From the virus’s perspective, we are all similar, we are all human prey. And from the human perspective, as long as the epidemic spreads in any one country, it endangers all of us, because it can reach all of us. Therefore we need a global plan to fight this epidemic.

Q: Could this pandemic lead countries to reassess globalisation and install more barriers in terms of borders, trade and culture?

Some people indeed blame the coronavirus epidemic on globalisation, and say that to prevent more such outbreaks we should de-globalise the world. But this is a complete mistake. Epidemics spread long before the era of globalisation. In the Middle Ages viruses travelled at the speed of a packhorse, and in most places they could infect only small towns and villages. Yet plagues such as the Black Death were far more deadly than today. If you want to defend yourself from epidemics by isolation, you will have to go back all the way to the Stone Age. This was the last time when humans were free from epidemics, because back then there were very few humans, with very few connections.

The real antidote to epidemics isn’t isolation and segregation, it is information and cooperation. The big advantage of humans over viruses is the ability to cooperate effectively. A coronavirus in China and a coronavirus in the USA cannot swap tips about how to infect humans. But China can teach the USA many valuable lessons about coronavirus and how to deal with it. More than that, China can actually send experts and equipment to directly help the USA. The viruses cannot do anything like that.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of leadership, we are not making the most of our ability to cooperate. Over the last few years, irresponsible politicians in various parts of the world have deliberately undermined trust in international cooperation. We are now paying the price for that. There seem to be no adults in the room.

Hopefully, we would soon see more and better cooperation at least in the following five fields:

1. Share reliable information. Countries that have already experienced the epidemic should teach other countries about it. Data from all over the world should be shared openly and speedily in the effort to contain the epidemic and develop medicines and vaccines.

2. Coordinate global production and fair distribution of essential medical equipment such as testing kits, protective gear and respiratory machines. Global coordination can overcome bottlenecks in production, and can make sure that the equipment goes to the countries that need it most, rather than to the richest countries.

3. Less-affected countries should send doctors, nurses and experts to the worst-affected countries, both to help them and to gain valuable experience. The centre of the epidemic keeps shifting. Previously it was China, now it is Europe, maybe next month it will be the USA and later on Brazil. If Brazil sends help to Italy today, maybe in two months when Italy recovers and Brazil is in crisis, Italy will repay the favour.

4. Create a global economic safety net to save the worst-hit countries and sectors. This is particularly important for poorer countries. Rich countries like the USA, Japan and Germany will be OK. But once the epidemic spreads to countries in Africa, the Middle East and South America, it could lead there to complete economic collapse, unless we have a global plan of action in place.

5. Formulate a global agreement on pre-screening of travellers that will allow a trickle of essential travellers to continue crossing borders. If the origin country carefully screens travellers before they board a plane, the destination country should feel safe to let them in.