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美国真实新冠死亡人数已超10万

America’s True Covid Toll Already Exceeds 100,000
美国真实新冠死亡人数已超10万

Many supporters of President Trump believe that the figures for coronavirus fatalities are inflated, and Trump himself shared a tweet doubting the accuracy of some virus figures.

特朗普总统的许多支持者认为,新冠病毒死亡人数被夸大了,特朗普本人也发推质疑一些病毒数据的准确性。

He’s right that the death toll seems off — but not in the direction he would suggest. We’ve crunched the numbers, state by state, and it appears that somewhere around 100,000 to 110,000 Americans have already died as a result of the pandemic, rather than the 83,000 whose deaths have been attributed to the disease, Covid-19.

他说的没错,死亡人数统计似乎有偏差——但不是按他所说的方向。我们对各州的数据进行了分析,结果显示大约有10万到11万人死于这场大流行,而不是死因被列为新冠病毒肺炎的8.3万人。

That’s my estimate reached with the help of a Harvard statistician, Rafael Irizarry, based on a comparison of death rates this spring with those in previous years. Some states have been largely unaffected — death rates in some even appear to have dropped, perhaps because of less driving and fewer car accidents — but others have seen huge surges in deaths.

这是我在哈佛大学统计学家拉斐尔·伊里萨里(Rafael Irizarry)的帮助下得出的估计,依据的是今年春季与往年死亡率的比较。一些州基本没有受到影响——有些州的死亡率甚至似乎有所下降,可能是由于驾驶和车祸减少——但另一些州的死亡人数却大幅上升。
 

上月,一具遗体正被运往布鲁克林金斯布鲁克犹太医疗中心的一辆冷藏卡车。

Over all, in a bit more than two months, the United States lost more Americans to the coronavirus than died over seven decades in the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.

总的来说,在两个多月的时间里,美国死于新冠病毒的人数超过了过去70年在朝鲜战争、越南战争、波斯湾战争、阿富汗战争和伊拉克战争中死亡的人数。

Here’s how we reached our estimates; they are not definitive, for they are based on preliminary data, and I invite discussion.

这是我们的估计;它们基于初步数据,因此并不是最权威的,我欢迎大家的讨论。

The starting point is that the cause of death is often uncertain. Most people who die don’t get an autopsy, and many never had a coronavirus test. The precise number who died from Covid-19 is in some sense unknowable.

首先,死亡原因往往是不确定的。大多数死亡者都没有进行尸检,而且许多人从未做过新冠病毒检测。从某种意义上说,死于新冠病毒的确切人数是无法得知的。

Still, one standard approach to measure the impact of a pandemic like this is to look at “excess deaths,” meaning mortality greater than the average for a particular time period.

尽管如此,衡量这种大流行影响的一个标准方法是观察“超额死亡”,也就是高于特定时期平均水平的死亡率。

For example, for the seven weeks ending April 25 in the United States, about 70,000 more Americans died than is normal for those weeks (death is seasonal and normally declines over the course of spring and summer). That 70,000 figure for excess deaths does not include Connecticut, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, which were excluded because of missing or dubious data.

例如,在美国,截至4月25日的七周内,死亡人数比正常情况下高出约7万(死亡率是季节性的,春夏两季通常会出现下降)。这7万人的超额死亡数字还不包括康涅狄格州、北卡罗来纳州和宾夕法尼亚州,这三个州由于数据缺失或可疑而被排除在外。

The official number of Covid-19 deaths in that period for the rest of the country was 49,100. That suggests an undercount of more than 20,000 coronavirus-related deaths as of April 25.

在此期间,美国其他地区死于新冠病毒的官方数字为49100人。这表明,截至4月25日,与冠状病毒相关的死亡人数被少计了逾2万人。

Add those 20,000 missed deaths to today’s total of 83,000, and you already get more than 100,000 pandemic-related deaths. But the undercount probably continued after April 25, albeit at a lower rate.

在今天的8.3万例死亡总数的基础上,再加上这2万少计死亡,就得出超过10万例与大流行相关的死亡。但在4月25日之后,少计情况可能还会持续,尽管比例有所下降。

We don’t have good enough mortality data to assess excess deaths in late April and early May, a period in which more than 30,000 Americans are reported to have died of Covid-19. Testing increased significantly, and over time doctors seemed more willing to list Covid-19 as the cause of death.

我们没有足够的死亡数据来评估4月底和5月初的超额死亡情况,据报这段时间内有3万多名美国人死于新冠病毒。检测数量有了大幅增加,并且医生似乎渐渐地更愿意将新冠病毒列为死亡原因了。

“There’s probably less underreporting as time goes on,” notes Robert N. Anderson, the chief of mortality statistics at the C.D.C.’s National Center for Health Statistics. In New York City, a study likewise found enormous underreporting in the first half of April, then gradually diminishing by the beginning of May.

“漏报的情况可能在逐渐减少,”疾病控制与预防中心国家卫生统计中心(National Center for Health Statistics)死亡统计负责人罗伯特·N·安德森(Robert N. Anderson)说。在纽约市,一项研究同样发现,4月上半月存在严重漏报,然后在5月初逐渐减少。

In the period we looked at, the undercount also diminished. Initially, there were more than twice as many excess deaths as reported coronavirus deaths, but by April 25 there were only 40 percent more. If the undercount thereafter were 10 percent, that would add a few thousand to the total, possibly bringing it closer to 110,000.

在我们研究的这段时间里,少计情况也在减少。最初,超额死亡人数是已报冠状病毒死亡人数的两倍多,但到4月25日,超额死亡人数只比报告的冠状病毒死亡人数多40%。如果从那以后的少计率是10%,那将令死亡总数增加几千人,可能使死亡总数接近11万。

These numbers are uncertain, but the implication is that somewhere around 25,000 more Americans died as a result of the pandemic than are recorded in the death tallies.

这些数字是不确定的,但它意味着在死亡人数统计之外,大约还有2.5万多名美国人死于这场大流行。

This kind of analysis can’t determine if they died directly from the virus or indirectly. Some presumably perished from heart attacks or strokes because they feared going to hospitals and delayed calling 911, or because ambulance services were stretched thin. In other words, a modest number presumably died because of the virus without being infected by it.

这种分析不能确定他们是直接死于新冠病毒还是间接的。有些人可能因为害怕去医院,迟迟不打911,或者是因为救护车太紧缺,最终死于心梗或中风。换句话说,大概有一小部分人虽然没有被感染,但也因为该病毒而死。

One reason to think that a great majority of the excess deaths are directly caused by the virus is that in some states that seem to have meticulous reporting, such as Massachusetts, the number of excess deaths and the number of Covid-19 deaths are not so far apart.

我们认为绝大多数超额死亡是由该病毒直接造成的,其中一个原因是,在马萨诸塞州等报告看起来比较详尽的州,超额死亡人数和新冠病亡人数相差不大。

Professor Irizarry, who is also chairman of the department of data science at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, notes that our new estimates are built on several layers of uncertainty. It typically takes two months for deaths to be reported in a reasonably complete way, so one critical issue is how to adjust for lags in reporting. The C.D.C. tries to estimate what the death total will eventually be based on incomplete reporting, and our estimates depend on its algorithms.

同时也是波士顿丹娜-法伯癌症研究所(Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)数据科学系主任的伊里萨里指出,我们的新估算是建立在几个层面的不确定性之上的。通常需要两个月的时间才能以合理完整的方式报告死亡病例,所以一个关键问题是如何调整报告的滞后。疾病控制与预防中心试图根据不完整的报告估算死亡总数,我们的估算依靠的是它的算法。

The mortality figures show enormous variation by state. Texas and California appear to have suffered more deaths from the 2018 flu epidemic than from the coronavirus so far. And according to the C.D.C. numbers, some states, including Arkansas, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Rhode Island, actually experienced fewer deaths than normal in the seven weeks ending April 25. The reason might be a decline in driving and a drop in accidental deaths.

各州的死亡率差异很大。到目前为止,得克萨斯州和加利福尼亚州在2018年流感疫情中死亡的人数似乎比冠状病毒还多。根据疾病控制与预防中心的数据,在截至4月25日的七周时间里,阿肯色、夏威夷、艾奥瓦、堪萨斯、北达科他、俄勒冈、南达科他和罗德岛等州的死亡人数实际上低于正常水平。原因可能是开车的减少和意外死亡的减少。

Irizarry calculates that about 70 percent of excess deaths nationally derive from just five states: New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts and Illinois.

伊里萨里估计,全国范围内大约70%的超额死亡来自五个州:纽约州、新泽西州、密歇根州、马萨诸塞州和伊利诺伊州。

The idea that official figures are undercounts is widely acknowledged. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci told a Senate health committee on Tuesday that he didn’t know if the real death toll was 50 percent higher than the official figures, but that “almost certainly it’s higher.”

官方数字存在少计的观点得到了广泛的认同。周二,安东尼·S·福奇(Anthony S. Fauci)博士告诉参议院卫生委员会,他不知道实际死亡人数是否比官方数字高出50%,但实际死亡人数“几乎肯定会更高”。

“Most frontline doctors will tell you that the numbers are grossly underreported,” said Michael P. Jones, an emergency medicine physician who works at hospitals in the Bronx that were particularly hard hit. Especially in the early days, he said, many Covid-19 deaths were simply listed as some variant of “respiratory failure” or “multisystem organ failure.”

“大多数一线医生会告诉你,这些数字被严重低估了,”在疫情严重的布朗克斯的几家医院工作的急救内科医生迈克尔·P·琼斯(Michael P. Jones)说。他说,特别是在早期,许多新冠死亡病例被简单地列为“呼吸衰竭”或“多系统器官衰竭”的变种。

Dr. Alicia Skarimbas, who practices in New Jersey, said, “We signed so many death certificates, we would get behind and take turns doing them.”

在新泽西执业的艾丽西亚·斯卡林巴斯医生(Alicia Skarimbas)说,“我们签了那么多死亡证明,我们签不过来,然后我们就轮流签。”

Skarimbas said that she would list Covid-19 as the cause of death when that seemed obvious, but her partners might simply list “respiratory failure” unless there had been a positive test for the virus. Thus it was often random whether Covid-19 was listed as the cause of death.

斯卡林巴斯说,对于明显的病例,她会把新冠病毒列为死亡原因,但她的同事们可能会认定死因为“呼吸衰竭”,除非死者的病毒检测呈阳性。因此,新冠病毒是否被列为死亡原因通常是随机的。

The undercounting is a global problem, not just one in the United States. Dr. Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington estimates that globally, excess deaths are about double the official Covid-19 death counts.

对死亡人数的少计是一个全球性问题,而不仅仅是美国的问题。华盛顿大学(University of Washington)健康指标与评估研究所(Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation)的克里斯托弗·默里(Christopher Murray)博士估计,在全球范围内,超额死亡人数大约是官方公布的因新冠病毒死亡人数的两倍。

Excess deaths are often used to gauge mortality from an event or an epidemic. When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in 2017, the official death toll stood for a year at 64. But Irizarry and other scholars used a variety of techniques to calculate that excess deaths in the aftermath exceeded 1,000, perhaps by a wide margin. As a result of the statistical work, the official death toll is now 2,975.

超额死亡常被用来衡量某一事件或流行病的死亡率。2017年玛利亚飓风袭击波多黎各时,官方公布的死亡人数为64人。但伊里萨里等学者使用各种技术计算出,灾后的超额死亡人数超过了1000人,可能超出很多。经过统计,现在的官方死亡人数是2975人。

Covid-19 will inevitably continue to kill people in the weeks ahead. Those who die over the next week or two have already been infected, perhaps several weeks ago. Dr. Tom Frieden, a former director of the C.D.C., notes that even if one could end all new infections, thousands would still die from infections already contracted.

在未来几周内,新冠病毒病将不可避免地继续造成死亡。在未来一两周内死亡的人可能在几周前就已经被感染了。疾病控制与预防中心前主任汤姆·弗里登(Tom Frieden)博士指出,即使不再有新增感染,仍会有成千上万已经感染的人死去。

Given the uncertainty and the lags in data, why go through this exercise of estimating deaths? Because flawed numbers based on an undercount are already a central part of the discussion, informing policy decisions, and Trump has made them so.

考虑到数据的不确定性和滞后,为什么要进行这种死亡数据估算工作呢?因为在少计基础上得出的错误数据已经成为讨论的核心和决策依据,而特朗普已经在这样做。

“We have saved thousands and thousands of lives,” he said on May 1. “Hopefully, we are going to come in below that 100,000 lives lost.” In that context, it seems worthwhile to note that this milestone has already been exceeded.

“我们已经拯救了成千上万的生命,”他在5月1日说。“我们的死亡人数有望低于10万人。”在这个语境下,似乎值得注意的是,10万大关已经被超过了。
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