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依然是一个持续的威胁,美国刚刚在这场流行病中达成了一个可能不会引起太多关注的悲惨里程碑。美国的COVID-19死亡率已经超过了每百万人口340人,是中国的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.

美国和其他国家在COVID-19死亡率上的巨大差异显示了美国和成功应对疫情的国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.

让我们从中国开始,2019年12月8日,中国出现了第一例疑似COVID-19病例。截至12月31日,中国已向世界卫生组织(WHO)通报了这一威胁。到1月12日,中国科学家已经确定了导致这种疾病的病毒,并与世界分享了它的基因序列,以便所有国家都能进行COVID-19检测并开始研制疫苗。


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.

当然,中国报告的死亡人数...。这个数字之前至少有过一次向上修正,而且可能会持续变动一段时间。但美国也同样有少计和变动的情况。即使少计了死亡病例,事实仍然是中国的死亡率比美国低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.

东亚和太平洋地区其他保持低死亡率的国家也采取了与中国类似的控制措施。他们还发起了积极的“测试和追踪”、社交距离和戴口罩运动。与此同时,美国浪费了战胜病毒的机会。在第一批COVID-19病例抵达美国后的至少六周内,联邦政府和大多数州政府都没有试图采取措施,如在家办公、积极的检测、隔离、接触者的追踪或隔离。隔离和护理的财政障碍依然存在。这种缓慢的反应使病毒在数周内不受限制地传播,几乎不被发现。

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.

结果呢?美国现在是世界上COVID-19病例最多、死亡人数最多的国家。受灾最严重的两个州是纽约(几乎是美国死亡人数的十分之三)和新泽西(十分之一)。即使把人口因素控制在内,美国仍然是每天新增病例和死亡人数最多的国家之一,巴西、俄罗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,我们没有看到任何迹象表明联邦政府正在采取一种紧急的、全国性的、协调一致的方法来扭转目前的趋势。尽管美国严重缺乏安全结束社交距离所需的每日测试次数,白宫的冠状病毒测试沙皇,海军上将布雷特·吉罗伊尔已经下台,但没有取代他的计划。虽然我们现在每天要进行将近50万次测试,但哈佛大学的研究人员得出的结论是,我们需要每天100万到1000万次的测试。同样,没有足够的接触者追踪来控制美国的流行病。如果我们假设每一个新病例需要5个接触追踪者(保守估计),那么只有8个州有足够的追踪者。

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.

美国现在面临着安全地重新开放社会和控制疫情的双重挑战。各种各样的州政策拼凑在一起,关于安全措施(包括口罩和社交距离)的信息往往相互矛盾,这很可能会扩大耽搁了很久的最初反应对人类健康和经济造成的危害。

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.

来自中国和其他国家的数据表明,在这种流行病中,严重的生命损失并非不可避免。希腊、新西兰和越南等国采取了不同的策略,但共同的要素是早期和强有力的政治承诺、以科学为基础的方法,以及密切遵守世卫组织关于检测、接触追踪和有效隔离措施的指导方针。

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.

在这场大流行病中,美国发人深省的死亡率中的一个残酷事实是,其中许多死亡是可以阻止的。尽管没有任何国家能够避开不可避免的经济痛苦,但能迅速、协调行动的国家基本上能够避免病毒的最坏影响,拯救数千人的生命,并开始重启经济。另一方面,美国在继续浪费宝贵的时间。除非它积极地吸取成功国家的教训,否则我们担心美国的死亡率可能会上升到中国的200倍。