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拜登新冠阳性,然后呢?

President Biden Has Covid. Now What?
拜登新冠阳性,然后呢?

The president has tested positive for the coronavirus.

总统的新冠病毒检测呈阳性。

So what?

那又怎么样?
 

Maybe, just maybe, a divided country that turned its response to a virus into tribal warfare can take this moment to lay down arms and declare a truce. The president has Covid. Now what?

也许,只是也许,在一个将防疫搞得如同部落战争的分裂国家,可以利用这一刻放下武器,宣布停战。连总统都感染了新冠病毒。现在还要怎么样?

Even at his advanced age, President Biden enjoys substantial protection as a vaccinated and double boosted adult with access to available therapeutics like Paxlovid. The vice president, the octogenarian speaker of the House and much of the president’s cabinet and congressional leadership have already had Covid, so this is the final test of whether this news is news or more like a weather report. If we have reached the point that a president testing positive elicits a shrug, it’s the clearest signal yet that, wisely or not, we’ve turned the page.

拜登总统接种了疫苗,打过两针加强针,并且有Paxlovid这样的治疗药物可用,因此即便拜登年事已高,他还是得到了切实的保护。副总统、年逾八旬的众议院议长,以及大部分内阁和国会领导层都感染过新冠,所以这是最后的测试,看看这个消息到底是更像新闻,还是更像天气预报。如果到了“总统的检测结果呈阳性”只会让人耸耸肩的程度,这不啻为迄今为止最明确的信号,表明我们已经翻过了这一页,无论明智与否。

The White House reports that the president’s symptoms are mild, and one hopes he is spared long-term harm, brain fog and fatigue, which may be less apparent but more insidious. The BA.5 Omicron subvariant has been especially agile in infecting and reinfecting even people who were still “being careful,” which has introduced a certain fatalism to the conversation — even though hundreds of people are still dying every day from Covid-19. People who are immunocompromised may feel even more vulnerable as the rest of the world moves on. But Covid death statistics, like those accompanying most car crashes, have receded from front-page news. So now we will see whether a positive P.C.R. test in the Oval Office amounts to something like the president having a cold.

白宫报告称,总统的症状很轻微,人们希望他免受长期伤害、脑雾和疲乏的影响,这些症状可能不是那么明显,但隐患会更大。奥密克戎BA.5亚分支特别容易让人感染或者再次感染,甚至是那些仍然“小心翼翼”的人也难以躲过去,即便每天有很多人死于新冠,也只得接受迟早会感染的事实。随着世界其他地区日渐接受现实,免疫功能低下的人可能会感到更加脆弱。但是新冠死亡统计数据已经淡出了头版新闻,就像伴随大多数车祸事故而来的死亡统计数据一样。所以,现在我们要看看,在椭圆形办公室的核酸检测结果呈阳性,是否等同于总统感冒了。

Every president is a Rorschach test on whom citizens project hopes, doubts, dreams and deep night terrors. From the start, the pandemic was a pageant of personal choices and rolling risk assessments. Once it became a prime medium of tribal signaling, it tested how Americans weight our values: liberty, privacy, compassion, community. Now that the virus has breached the defenses of the most protected sanctuary on the planet, it adds another test — this one of truth, transparency and risk tolerance.

每位总统都像是一个罗夏墨迹测验,公民们将自己的希望、疑虑、梦想和深夜的恐惧投射在他身上。从一开始,这场大流行就是个人选择和实时风险评估的盛会。一旦成为部落信号的主要媒介,它就可以检验美国人如何衡量我们的价值观:自由、隐私、同情和社区。现在,病毒突破了地球上戒备最为森严之地的防御,它又获得了另一重考验——关于真相、透明度和风险承受度的考验。

Health experts can debate whether the president’s recent decisions were routine or reckless — to return to regular travel, meeting, greeting, presidenting his way along the road to normal. Partisans on both sides will draw their own moral to the story: that this shows prevention efforts were always misguided, that trying to avoid Covid is like trying to avoid sunlight. Or this shows that mask mandates ended too soon and mitigation is forever. But for the leader of the free world, maybe this is a way of modeling, especially to those ZIP codes where people still wear masks on empty beaches, that it’s time to move on. We’ve reached the phase where a virus that shut down the world can now reach the Oval Office and not stop the presses or crash the markets. The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, signaled business as usual while Mr. Biden isolates: The president “will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time,” she said, noting that he “will participate in his planned meetings at the White House this morning via phone and Zoom from the residence.”

健康专家可以讨论总统最近的决定是否正常还是过于鲁莽——恢复正常的出行、开会、和人们打招呼,在回归正常的道路上继续做他的总统。双方支持者都可以从这个故事里得出自己的结论:一方认为,这表明预防工作都是误判,试图避免新冠就像试图避免阳光。另一方认为,这表明口罩强制令结束得太早,避免疫情冲击的措施应该是永久性的。但对于自由世界的领袖来说,这也许是一种示范的方式,尤其是对于那些人们在空旷的海滩上依然戴着口罩的地区来说,是时候向前看了。我们已经到了这样一个阶段,即一种让世界瘫痪的病毒现在可以抵达椭圆形办公室,而不会让媒体停摆,也不会让市场崩溃。白宫新闻秘书卡琳·让-皮埃尔表示,拜登被隔离期间,一切照常:总统“将在这段时间内继续充分履行他的所有职责”,并指出他“将于今天上午在白宫通过电话和Zoom参加原定的会议”。

Historically, of course, such statements didn’t always survive scrutiny. Real-time reports on Donald Trump’s condition when he tested positive for the coronavirus in October 2020 turned out to wildly understate how sick he was. In the days before vaccines became available, a 74-year-old on statins was already at high risk; we’ve since learned that when Mr. Trump was sick, his blood oxygen dipped into the 80s, he was given powerful steroids and he had to be put on oxygen. And even as the White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, insisted the president was “doing great,” his aides scrambled for access to still experimental treatments.

当然,从历史上看,这样的说法并不总能经得起推敲。2020年10月特朗普的新冠病毒检测呈阳性时,有关他病情的实时报道被证明大大低估了他的病情。在疫苗尚未问世的日子里,这位服用他汀类药物的74岁老人处于高风险之中;我们后来了解到,特朗普生病时,他的血氧浓度降到了90%以下,他被注射了强力类固醇,不得不吸氧。尽管白宫医生肖恩·康利坚称总统“情况很好”,但他的助手们还是努力去获取仍处于实验阶段的药物。

The Trump administration was hardly the first to hide a president’s disability; that is more the rule than the exception. Woodrow Wilson had a stroke, which left him partially paralyzed, with a reportedly impaired ability to lead on his own; Dwight Eisenhower had a heart attack and a stroke while in office; John Kennedy had Addison’s disease. Transparency in matters related to the health of heads of state is seldom the norm. There are natural reasons for this — pride, privacy and national security among them. Markets move, and potentially armies as well, in appraisal of a president’s state of mind and body.

特朗普政府并不是第一个隐瞒总统失能的政府;这是普遍现象,而非例外。伍德罗·威尔逊曾经中风,导致他部分瘫痪,据报道,他的独立领导能力受损;德怀特·艾森豪威尔在任职期间曾有一次心脏病发作和一次中风;约翰·肯尼迪患有艾迪生病。与国家元首健康有关的事务很少能做到完全透明。这自然有其原因,包括骄傲、隐私和国家安全。在评估总统的精神和身体状态时,市场会发生变化,军队也有可能发生变化。

But Covid now presents a different challenge. If Mr. Biden develops serious and debilitating symptoms, the White House has a strong obligation to disclose it. But if, as is statistically more likely, he weathers infection with little disruption to his daily routine, then he becomes just like a majority of Americans, who’ve also had the virus at least once. Promising “an abundance of transparency,” the White House indicated it would offer daily updates on the president’s progress.

但是现在新冠病毒带来了不同的挑战。如果拜登出现重症和虚弱,白宫有强烈的披露义务。但是,统计学意义上更有可能的结果是,他可以在日常生活几乎不受干扰的情况下度过感染期,那么他就会像大多数美国人一样,至少感染过一次病毒。白宫承诺“充分透明”,表示将每天更新总统的最新情况。

If all goes well, this will be a nonstory … and that’s the story.

如果一切顺利,这将不是什么新闻……不是新闻就是新闻。

Maybe we can take it as an invitation to put lingering partisan reflexes aside, celebrate the triumphs of science and the twist in the plot: that this threat that has hovered over the planet for two years is now evolving into something else. Still a scourge, but one against which we have weapons and shields, freeing us to set about rebuilding all that the past two years of distraction and destruction tore down.

也许我们可以把它当作一种邀请,把挥之不去的党派反应放在一边,来庆祝科学的胜利和疫情的转折点:这个在地球上空盘旋了两年的威胁现在正演变成另一种东西。这仍然是一场灾难,但我们有了武器和盾牌来对付它,使我们得以着手重建过去两年来被纷扰和破坏所摧毁的一切。

Get well soon, Mr. President.

祝早日康复,总统先生。
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