Respiratory disease expert Professor David Hui Shu-cheong said something on my TV show last week that made many people shake in their boots. He said he believes almost all of us will eventually be infected by the new coronavirus. When I asked him why he was so sure almost everyone will be infected, he said since it's a new virus no one has immunity. German Chancellor Angela Merkel shares the same view. She warned last week that about 58 million Germans, or about 70 percent of the German population, could be infected. This is a sobering thought. In fact, many experts have said about 70 or 80 percent of the world's population could be infected.
It has now become a race between the new virus and the search for a vaccine. We all, of course, hope the search for a new vaccine wins the race. Should we be shaking in our boots in the meantime? The expression "shake in your boots (or shoes)" means to be very afraid or nervous. The word "immunity" used this way means to be protected against a disease. The word "sobering" used this way means to make you feel serious or worry about serious things. Instead of shaking in our boots, we should follow the advice of experts to wash our hands, avoid large gatherings, wear facemasks in crowded areas, and avoid shaking hands.
Even though nobody wants to get infected, Hui Shu-cheong said on my show a high infection rate could stop the coronavirus because it would create herd immunity. The expression "herd immunity" means if enough people are infected and recover, they will be immune to the disease and prevent others from being infected. It's the same as if enough people get influenza vaccinations, there will be herd immunity. Instead of shaking in your boots, remember that most people infected by the new coronavirus either get well without treatment or feel no symptoms at all. Wash your hands and don't shake hands!
呼吸道疾病專家許樹昌教授上周在我的電視節目上說了些話，令許多人都嚇得直發抖（shake in their boots）。他說，相信我們差不多所有人最終都會感染新型冠狀病毒。當我問他為何他會這麼肯定幾乎所有人都會染病時，他說，因為這是個新病毒，無人有免疫力（immunity）。德國總理安克拉．默克爾亦抱相同的看法。她上周警告說，大約五千八百萬德國人，或德國七成人口將會受到感染。這是個發人深省的（sobering）的想法。事實是，許多專家都說了，全球約七或八成人口都會受感染。
現在已經變成是新型病毒與研發疫苗的競賽了，我們所有人當然是希望研發新疫苗可以搶先勝出這場競賽。與此同時，我們應否be shaking in our boots？習語“shake in your boots（or shoes）”意即膽戰心驚，嚇得渾身發抖。Immunity在這裏是指對某疾病有免疫力。Sobering在這裏是指令你嚴肅看待某事，又或令你對某嚴肅的事情更為警醒。我們好應遵從專家的建議，勤洗手、避免大型聚會、在多人的地方戴口罩，以及避免握手，而非嚇得直發抖（shaking in our boots）。
雖然沒有人會想受到感染，但許樹昌在我的節目上說，高感染率可以阻止冠狀病毒的傳播，因為那會建立出“herd immunity”。習語“herd immunity”是指群體免疫，若有足夠的人感染並痊瘉，他們就會對疾病免疫（immune），也就能預防其他人受到感染；這就正如若有足夠的人接種流感疫苗，便能產生群體免疫（herd immunity）。與其嚇得兩腿直打哆嗦（shaking in your boots），倒不如記着，大部份感染新型冠狀病毒的人要麼在沒有獲得治療下痊瘉，要麼就是沒有出現任何症狀。謹記清潔雙手，不要跟人握手！中譯：七刻
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧