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2020.9.2经济学人官方译文:流感

2020.9.2经济学人官方译文:流感
2020年09月23日 15:30 新浪网 作者 英国人老姚

  

Influenza

  

Cold case

  

2020 has been a year without a flu season in the southern hemisphere

  

流感

  

遇冷

  

2020年是南半球没有流感季的一年

  

  

  EVERY WINTER, from May to October, tens of thousands of Australians and New Zealanders are asked how they feel. More precisely, they are asked by their governments in weekly surveys if they have a cough or a fever. Although 2020 has been a difficult year in many ways for Aussies and Kiwis, it has not necessarily been bad for their physical health. This winter only around 0.4% of people in the two countries said they were suffering from flu-like symptoms, down by four-fifths compared with last year. Other countries in the southern hemisphere have reported similar slowdowns in the spread of influenza.

  每年冬天,从5月到10月,成千上万澳大利亚人和新西兰人会被问到他们感觉如何。确切地说,政府会每周调查,询问他们是否咳嗽或发烧。尽管对澳新两国民众来说,2020年在很多方面都很难熬,但在身体健康方面倒未必糟糕。今年冬天,这两个国家只有约0.4%的人报告有类似流感的症状,比去年减少了五分之四。南半球的其他国家也报告了类似的流感传播放缓。

  The cause for this steep decline in infections is clear. Governments all around the world have enacted costly lockdowns to fight the novel coronavirus. In doing so, not only have countries in the southern hemisphere slowed the spread of covid-19, but they also appear inadvertently to have stopped the proliferation of another deadly disease: the flu.

  流感感染率急剧下降的原因很明显。世界各国政府实施了代价高昂的封城措施以对抗新冠病毒。这不仅减缓了南半球国家新冠肺炎的传播,而且似乎也在无意中阻止了另一种致命疾病流感的扩散。

  Since 1952 the World Health Organisation (WHO) has tracked influenza in member countries, relying on local partner laboratories to report both the number and types of viruses they detect. In the first two weeks of August, the WHO processed nearly 200,000 influenza tests, and found just 46 were positive. In a typical year, the number would be closer to 3,500.

  自1952年以来,世卫组织一直在追踪成员国的流感传播状况,依靠当地的合作实验室报告它们检测到的流感病毒数量和类型。8月头两周,该组织完成了近20万次流感检测,只发现46例阳性。在通常年份,这一数字会接近3500。

  One might worry that because health-care systems are strained, the declines in reported flu cases reflect reduced testing capacity, rather than a genuine reduction in infections. Fortunately, this is not so. WHO data are readily available in six countries in the southern hemisphere: Australia, Argentina, South Africa, Paraguay, New Zealand and Chile. There the total number of influenza tests has fallen by just 20%, while the share of tests that have come up positive has plummeted to record lows.

  有人可能会担心,由于当前医疗体系承压,流感报告病例下降反映的是检测能力下降,而不是感染人数真的减少了。所幸事实并非如此。世卫组织已发布的数据包括南半球的六个国家:澳大利亚、阿根廷、南非、巴拉圭、新西兰和智利。这六国的流感检测总数仅下降了20%,但阳性检出率已大跌至历史低点。

  Data from Australia tell a remarkable tale. From May to mid-August of 2015-19, an average of 86,000 Australians tested positive for the flu each year, and around 130 died of it. This winter the government has registered only 627 influenza infections and just a single death.

  来自澳大利亚的数据令人瞩目。从2015年到2019年,每年5月到8月中旬平均有8.6万澳大利亚人被检出流感阳性,其中约130人死于流感。而今年冬天,澳大利亚政府仅录得627例感染、1例死亡。

  The reduction in flu cases helps explain at least one puzzle in covid-19 data: some countries have seen a smaller increase in overall mortality than their covid-19 deaths would suggest. For instance, Chile has recorded around 9,800 covid-19 deaths from June to August 25th, but an increase of only about 8,800 deaths overall compared with the same period in 2015-19. It is possible that Chile is undercounting how many of its residents have died. But the near elimination of the flu has helped too.

  流感病例的减少有助于解释新冠肺炎数据中的至少一个谜团:有些国家的总死亡人数增长少于其新冠死亡人数数据所应体现的增长。例如,6月至8月25日,智利共记录约9800例新冠死亡病例,但与2015年至2019年同期相比,总死亡人数仅增加约8800例。存在这样一种可能性:智利对其国民的死亡人数统计不足。但流感几近绝迹也不无关系。

  Influenza cases may yet rise in the south both this year and next, since fewer people have developed immunities. Meanwhile, countries in the northern hemisphere should expect fewer flu cases since fewer will be imported from abroad, and most people are social distancing. Seasonal influenza kills an estimated 300,000-650,000 people annually. In a year filled with terrible news, a victory against the flu is a welcome respite. 今明两年南半球的流感病例可能还会上升,因为获得免疫力的人更少了。与此同时,北半球国家的流感病例应该会减少,因为从国外输入的病例会减少,而且大部分人都在保持社交距离。据估计,季节性流感每年造成30万到65万人死亡。在这充满可怕消息的一年里,在抗击流感上获胜给了人们一个可喜的喘息机会。

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