又中又英——Another nail in the coffin

  Is it possible to totally get rid of the coronavirus? Most experts say this may not be possible but they agree it is possible to bring it under control. One of America's top disease control experts, Dr Anthony Fauci, used an interesting expression last week to describe how to control the coronavirus. He said: "Hopefully, when a vaccine comes and puts the nail in the coffin." The actual expression is "final nail in the coffin". It means an event that finally causes the failure of something that had already started to fail. The expression "another nail in the coffin" has a slightly different meaning. It means another negative event that leads to failure.

  When Dr Fauci said "puts the nail in the coffin" he meant a vaccine would make the coronavirus fail to infect people. But that doesn't mean the coronavirus will disappear. The vaccine can only protect people who get vaccinated. Experts believe the coronavirus may be like the seasonal flu. People who get flu vaccinations every year have some protection. Dr Fauci used the expression "paradigm shift" to describe the new increase of coronavirus cases in the US. The expression "paradigm shift" means an important change in the usual way of thinking because of something that has happened to change the usual way of thinking.

  When the pandemic first started in the US, the thinking was to identify and isolate people with the virus, and trace those who had been in contact with them. But the new increase in cases involves mostly young people with no symptoms. They did not catch the virus in an outbreak but got infected from unknown sources in the community. That's why Dr Fauci said there has to be a paradigm shift in handling the new rise in cases. Dr Fauci described the US as a "heterogeneous" country. It means very different or diverse. Some US states have large immigrant and African-American populations, others have mostly white people. Mong Kok and the Mid-levels have heterogeneous people.

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  要完全擺脫新冠病毒,有可能嗎?大部份專家都說,這大概是不可能的,但他們認同,把它好好控制住是可能的。美國其中一位最頂尖的疾病控制專家安東尼‧佛奇醫生,上星期形容這個新冠病毒時,就用到一個很有趣的習語。他說:「但願,當疫苗出現並puts the nail in the coffin之時。」嚴格來說那習語是“final nail in the coffin”,意即某事本已開始呈敗象,有一件事情帶來最後致命的一擊。習語“another nail in the coffin”的意思卻稍微不同,它是指另一道催命符,引致某事失敗。

  當佛奇醫生說“puts the nail in the coffin”,他的意思是疫苗可以令新冠病毒不能再傳染人。然而,這不代表新冠病毒就會絕跡。疫苗只能保障那些接種了疫苗的人。專家相信,新冠病毒或許會像季節性流感一樣。人們每年都會接種流感疫苗以預防疾病。佛奇醫生用上習語“paradigm shift”去形容美國新增的新冠肺炎個案。習語“paradigm shift”即範式轉移,意指在常規思維上的重大轉變,因為某些事情的發生,改變了向來秉持的思維模式與標準。

  當全球大流行疫情於美國初發時,原本的思維是去辨認和隔離那些帶有病毒的人,以及追蹤那些曾接觸過感染者的人。可是,新增的那些個案,大部份都涉及無病徵的年輕人。他們並非在疫症爆發中感染病毒,而是在社區的不明源頭處染病。因此佛奇醫生說,在處理新增加的個案上,需要一個範式轉移(paradigm shift)。佛奇醫生形容美國是個“heterogeneous”國家,意即「異質的」、多樣化而混雜的。一些美國州份擁有很大的新移民與非裔美籍人口,另一些州則主要為白人。旺角與半山這兩區也有很不一樣的(heterogeneous)人群。

中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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