【媒庫文選】世界是一艘“新冠肺炎”號巨型郵輪
2020年03月25日10:08

原標題:【媒庫文選】世界是一艘“新冠肺炎”號巨型郵輪

The World Is a Giant Cruise Ship Called the COVID-19

世界是一艘“新冠肺炎”號巨型郵輪

Virginia Postrel 弗吉尼婭·波斯特蕾爾

Fear of disease can change everyday habits. Sometimes that's a good thing.

We were sailing from Los Angeles to Hawaii on the same line, Princess Cruises,that had a different ship quarantined in Yokohama,Japan, with an outbreak of the coronavirus known as COVID-19. As we set sail in mid-February, a ship was either one of the safest places, isolated from potential contagion, or the riskiest. But even without the threat of a potential pandemic, we had reason to be cautious.

Like college dormitories and military barracks,ships crowded with tourists are great incubators of disease, particularly the highly contagious norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea. Come down with it, and your vacation is ruined. If enough people get sick, the whole cruise can come to an abrupt stop. Over the weekend, a norovirus outbreak forced a Princess cruise in the Caribbean to end a day early. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires ships to report sick passengers or crew. Last year, 10 cruises reported that more than 3 percent of their crew and passengers suffered gastrointestinal illnesses; eight were positively identified as norovirus.

On a cruise, you start paying attention to washing your hands properly. Signs in all the bathrooms, including your cabin's, remind you to wash with soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing thoroughly. Hand-washing stations and sanitizer dispensers greet you on entering the buffet.

With all those nudges, and the sight of other passengers conscientiously washing their hands, I developed better habits. Rather than a perfunctory soap and rinse, I really did count out 20 seconds, and made sure to get the backs of my hands and between my fingers. I washed my hands after blowing my nose and when I used the bathroom in the middle of the night. Never mind the coronavirus, I didn't want to spend my vacation throwing up.

Why don't we act this way all the time? Taking a half minute to wash your hands with soap is a trivial act that costs next to nothing, yet almost no one does it. We'd all be better off if it became a habit. “People who perform proper hand-washing have lower rates of diarrhea, viral infections (like the common cold) and foodborne illnesses,” notes the Cleveland Clinic. “The CDC says proper hand-washing also reduces kids' absenteeism at school from gastrointestinal illnesses by at least 29%.” That was before COVID-19.

Washing your hands carefully is a minor shift in behavior. The coronavirus is a reminder that the world is a cruise ship, where we're all trapped with each other. We need to start acting like it.

對疾病的恐懼可能改變日常生活習慣。有時候這是一件好事。

當時我們正乘坐公主郵輪公司的郵輪從洛杉磯前往夏威夷。這家郵輪公司的另一艘船因為暴發新冠肺炎疫情而被隔離在日本橫濱。當我們在2月中旬揚帆起航時,郵輪要麼是最安全的地方之一,可以遠離潛在的病毒傳播;要麼就是最危險的地方。但即便沒有潛在的流行病威脅,我們也應當保持謹慎。

跟大學宿舍和軍營一樣,擠滿乘客的郵輪是疾病的完美孵化器,特別是傳染性極強的諾如病毒,它會引發嘔吐和腹瀉。要是染上病,你的假期就毀了。如果船上有足夠多的人生病,整個行程可能會戛然而止。在週末,諾如病毒暴發迫使公主郵輪公司在加勒比海的一艘郵輪提前一天結束行程。疾病控製和預防中心要求郵輪上報生病的乘客及船員。去年,10艘郵輪報告稱超過3%的船員和乘客出現胃腸道疾病;8艘被確認是船上人員感染了諾如病毒。

在郵輪上,你開始關注正確的洗手方式。所有衛生間提示牌——包括你自己船艙里的——都提醒你用肥皂洗手至少20秒鍾,然後再徹底衝洗乾淨。進入自助餐廳時,首先映入眼簾的是洗手台和免洗消毒洗手液。

受凡此種種督促,再看到其他乘客都在認真洗手,我也養成了更好的洗手習慣。不是敷衍了事地用肥皂洗一遍,我真的數了20秒,並且確保洗到手背和手指之間。在擤鼻子和半夜上廁所之後,我都會洗手。且不說新冠病毒,在渡假期間噁心嘔吐也是我不想的。

我們平常為什麼不這麼做?花半分鍾時間用肥皂洗手是一件幾乎毫不費力的小事,但幾乎沒什麼人這樣做。如果把認真洗手當成一種習慣,我們都能過得更好。克利夫蘭診所指出:“以正確方式洗手的人發生腹瀉、病毒感染(比如普通感冒)和食源性疾病的概率較低。”疾病控製和預防中心稱,正確洗手還能讓兒童因胃腸道疾病而缺課的情況減少至少29%。這還是在新冠肺炎疫情暴發前。

仔細洗手只是行為上一個微不足道的轉變。新冠病毒提醒人們,世界就是一艘郵輪,我們誰也躲不開誰。我們需要像在郵輪上一樣去做。(楊雪蕾譯自彭博新聞社網站3月3日文章)

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