封城令下 居家感言 (英夫)

英夫

3月17傍晚的時候,旅館經理匆匆忙忙地來問我:「李先生,我們是不是把旅館關閉?」,她看到我錯愕的表情,馬上解釋說「加州州長紐森(Gavin Newsom)剛才發布緊急命令,要求全州4千萬居民都不要出門,除了必要(essential)商家外,全部都要關閉」。我想了一下,告訴她:「我們不關門,旅館就是必要的商家」。之後我馬上上網查詢,州政府對必要商家的舉例是超級商場、藥店、餐館(只能做外賣)、加油站等,沒有旅館。不過我還是堅持自己的判斷,因爲在這個下雨又寒冷的夜晚,政府不可能要我們把一百多名的客人趕出去。果然,第二天旅館就被補上在必要商家的擧例名單上。

雖然不必關門,生意卻大受影響,營收已經滑落至去年的一半左右。在這種情況下,關閉反而可以減少虧損,但是考慮到員工的生計及復業艱難等因素,只能減少開支繼續營業。還好,美國聯邦政府已經通過2兆美元的紓困計劃,小商家可以獲得無息貸款,讓餐館、旅館、旅行社等業者,可以度過難關。

美國疾情來勢洶猛 州長下令封城

州長要居民不出門是一項很嚴厲的措施,美國人自由自在慣了,關在家裡是件很痛苦的事。還好,允許在家附近的馬路上散步,公園與海灘也開放,但是人與人之間要保持6英尺以上的距離。朋友告訴我,他有二位朋友並肩在馬路上行走,剛好碰到警察,警察查明他們既不是親戚也不住在一起,結果各得$200罰款單。後來海灘也關閉了,因為在上星期六很多人去海灘,太擁擠無法保持6英尺的安全距離。

「禁足令」對美國人而言是當頭棒喝,盡管武漢肺炎已經在全世界鬧得人仰馬翻,但是仍然未能引起一般美國民眾的關注。二星期前看到一位記者在街頭,以武漢肺炎(COVID19)為題訪問民眾,有些人根本沒有聽過,大部分人知道這個名詞,但是説不出內容。有一位小姐説:「我知道,我的親友們有人去參加一場音樂會,回家後一些人就得到這種病」。記者馬上把她趕走,怕她也是帶有病源體。「禁足令」第一件事就是敎美國人,尤其是年輕人,不要在外面趴趴走,在家多看一些時事報導,瞭解武漢肺炎的可怕,好好的思考如何避免被感染。

美國疾情來勢洶猛,根據美國約翰霍普金斯大學統計,今天(3月26日)美國的武漢肺炎確診數達到83507例,超過中國和義大利,躍居全世界確診數最多的國家。而9天前(3月17日)美國累計確診病例只有6362例,9天增加13倍之多。以這個比例演算,30天就可達到1000倍以上,實在令人戰慄。目前加州確診人數有4060例,推算一個月後會達到400萬例以上,州長紐森感到事態嚴重,下定決心採取封城的手段來阻止疫情的快速發展。

苦難當頭 考驗人性

看到電視報導在州長下封城令後,好市多(Costco)發生搶購潮,我覺得很奇怪,以美國物産之豐富,還怕缺乏食物或日用品嗎?主要是「封城令」使民眾恐慌,在手上要有些日用物資來滿足安全感。衞生紙最便宜,一般人都有能力囤積的物品,成了搶購的目標。事實上,好市多是大賣場,是很多小商家補貨的地方。一般家庭並不在這裡購買食物及日用品,遍佈各地的超級市場才是一般家庭依賴的地方。

這幾天去過幾個超市,沒有搶購潮,且物品充沛。再者,最近各地超市及好帀多都推出,星期一至星期五上午開門的第一個鐘頭,保留给年長的購物者。只要政府能夠維持不斷電、不斷水、不斷煤氣,大家應都可以安全地渡過這個百年一遇的難關。

苦難當頭也是考驗人性的時候,面對失控的疫情使人焦慮,搶購囤積到處可見。可是在德國卻有很多人把物品放在路邊,讓有需要者取用,這種發揮大愛的精神,令人敬佩。正如哈佛大學校長貝考(Lawrence S. Bacow)在關校前給學生的信中所説「目前我們的使命在於發揮我們最高尚的品格,以智慧與謙卑來面對更加複雜與混亂的世界」。貝考校長的信非常感人,全文登在本文之後。不幸的是,數天前媒體報導貝考校長與夫人都確診感染病毒,希望他們能早日康復。

SARS的經驗成為各國防疫成敗的關鍵

從中國傳出來的武漢肺癌瘟疫,疫情已經傳遍全世界,由於有了上次SARS的慘痛經驗,台灣香港新加坡在控制疫情擴散的表現甚佳,尤其是台灣得到世界各國的稱讚。SARS的疫區主要集中在中台港新,其他地方都很輕微,而且在天氣轉熱時,就消失的無影無縱。因此,歐美各國都抱著一種僥倖的心理,認這次武肺的疫情也跟SARS一樣,只在東亞鬧一鬧,二、三個月就會消失。就在這種輕蔑的態度下,疫情就從義大利爆發攻入歐洲的心臟地帶德國法國英國與西班牙等地,目前疫情仍然在持續擴散中。

川普的偏見 浪費控制疫情的寶貴時間

美國也是一樣,浪費了一個多月寶貴的時間,讓疫情從國外輸入,到達今日社區傳染,情況之嚴重己讓美國股市在一個月內,下滑了三分之一,創下紀錄。連帶影響了川普總統的連任之路。

美國有很出色的情報機構,而在今年的一月及二月時,情報圈就頻頻向行政部門及國會議員,提出有關武肺疫情擴散的警告。但是川普只是當成耳邊風,也未能讓國會議員關注。一些總統府幕僚雖然知道事態嚴重,也未能讓川普重視疫情失控的可能性。川普的過失一定會成為競選連任時被對方攻擊的軟肋。

高興看到台灣成為世界典範

居家的大部分時間都在看電視、手機、I-Pad,最高興的就是,看到台灣成功的控制疫情,成為「世界的典範」。台灣與中國的距離太近,交往太頻繁,曾經被國際專家列為,將是在中國之後疫情最慘的國家。台灣的成就跌破了專家們的眼鏡,國際情勢正轉向有利於台灣。而在台灣內部,民進黨政府的聲望高漲,親中促統派急速萎縮。盼望民進黨政府可以趁機推進本土化政策,例如中華航空公司改名為台灣航空公司,護照上除去「Republic of China 」等等。

哈佛大學校長勞倫斯.貝考 (Lawrence S. Bacow)公開信:

March 13, 2020

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

I write to follow up on the message you received Wednesday from HUHS Executive Director Giang Nguyen regarding two members of our community who have been tested for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). One individual received a presumptive positive test and is receiving medical care off campus. We await test results for the second individual. Additionally, a third individual who had close contact with the person who tested positive, is now being tested. Additional close contacts will be tested as needed.

Ensuring the anonymity of these individuals is paramount. If you are aware of their identities, please respect their privacy so that they can focus completely on their health. The last thing they need—or any of us would want for them—is public attention and scrutiny. We will do everything we can to support these individuals through what is undoubtedly a disconcerting and difficult time.

Guided by the Centers for Disease Control and local public health agencies, Harvard has established protocols for evaluating individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19. In line with those protocols, the Department of Public Health is taking the appropriate steps to communicate with members of the community who may have come into contact with the individual who tested positive. HUHS is supporting this effort.

I recognize that the uncertainty around COVID-19, and now a confirmed case within our community, may cause stress and anxiety, and I urge you to be in touch with either Harvard Counseling and Mental Health Services or the Harvard Employee Assistance Program if you need assistance. I also encourage you to visit the University’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage for important information and updates related to our response.

The interventions I announced on Tuesday, which are now under way, will decrease the density of people on our campus to help slow the spread of COVID-19. I know that many of you are concerned about the speed with which we are compelling you to act, and I understand that the changes we are asking you to make are very significant, but today’s confirmed case gives our efforts even greater urgency. At every level of the University, good people are working without pause to provide guidance and resources, to share the latest information, and to make decisions with a single end in mind—ensuring the safety of every member of our community.

I must reiterate the responsibility that each of us has in keeping our community safe. Everyone should be following the preventive recommendations that have been shared previously. Please re-familiarize yourself with these practical and effective measures.

No one knows what we will face in the weeks ahead, but everyone knows enough to understand that COVID-19 will test our capacities to be kind and generous, and to see beyond ourselves and our own interests. Our task now is to bring the best of who we are and what we do to a world that is more complex and more confused than any of us would like it to be. May we all proceed with wisdom and grace.

With appreciation,

Larry

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Lawrence S. Bacow

President
Harvard University

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PS:勞倫斯.貝考 (Lawrence S. Bacow),美國知名法律、經濟及都市計畫學者,擅長於土地及不動產法規。現任哈佛大學校長,擁有猶太血統,母親是二次大戰德國納粹集中營的倖存者。

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