【媒库文选】世界是一艘“新冠肺炎”号巨型邮轮

2020-03-25 10:08   参考消息网  

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

世界是一艘“新冠肺炎”号巨型邮轮

Virginia Postrel 弗吉尼娅·波斯特蕾尔

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.

对疾病的恐惧可能改变日常生活习惯。有时候这是一件好事。

当时我们正乘坐公主邮轮公司的邮轮从洛杉矶前往夏威夷。这家邮轮公司的另一艘船因为暴发新冠肺炎疫情而被隔离在日本横滨。当我们在2月中旬扬帆起航时,邮轮要么是最安全的地方之一,可以远离潜在的病毒传播;要么就是最危险的地方。但即便没有潜在的流行病威胁,我们也应当保持谨慎。

跟大学宿舍和军营一样,挤满乘客的邮轮是疾病的完美孵化器,特别是传染性极强的诺如病毒,它会引发呕吐和腹泻。要是染上病,你的假期就毁了。如果船上有足够多的人生病,整个行程可能会戛然而止。在周末,诺如病毒暴发迫使公主邮轮公司在加勒比海的一艘邮轮提前一天结束行程。疾病控制和预防中心要求邮轮上报生病的乘客及船员。去年,10艘邮轮报告称超过3%的船员和乘客出现胃肠道疾病;8艘被确认是船上人员感染了诺如病毒。

在邮轮上,你开始关注正确的洗手方式。所有卫生间提示牌——包括你自己船舱里的——都提醒你用肥皂洗手至少20秒钟,然后再彻底冲洗干净。进入自助餐厅时,首先映入眼帘的是洗手台和免洗消毒洗手液。

受凡此种种督促,再看到其他乘客都在认真洗手,我也养成了更好的洗手习惯。不是敷衍了事地用肥皂洗一遍,我真的数了20秒,并且确保洗到手背和手指之间。在擤鼻子和半夜上厕所之后,我都会洗手。且不说新冠病毒,在度假期间恶心呕吐也是我不想的。

我们平常为什么不这么做?花半分钟时间用肥皂洗手是一件几乎毫不费力的小事,但几乎没什么人这样做。如果把认真洗手当成一种习惯,我们都能过得更好。克利夫兰诊所指出:“以正确方式洗手的人发生腹泻、病毒感染(比如普通感冒)和食源性疾病的概率较低。”疾病控制和预防中心称,正确洗手还能让儿童因胃肠道疾病而缺课的情况减少至少29%。这还是在新冠肺炎疫情暴发前。

仔细洗手只是行为上一个微不足道的转变。新冠病毒提醒人们,世界就是一艘邮轮,我们谁也躲不开谁。我们需要像在邮轮上一样去做。(杨雪蕾译自彭博新闻社网站3月3日文章)

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