台灣疫情死亡率高達5% 彭博:歸咎於自滿心態 | Bloomberg: Taiwan’s deadly COVID-19 rebound driven by complacency

Health workers, wearing face shield, check with elderly Taiwanese people before the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination at a primary school in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

【看CP學英文】彭博於週日(25)報導指出,台灣的新冠疫情二度爆發,並伴隨著異常高的致死率,令不少人感到震驚。隨著近期疫情趨緩,不少人開始咎責過去數月為何疫情會迅速惡化。

The resurgence and an unusually high fatality rate of COVID-19 in Taiwan shocked many for the past few months. As the outbreak finally began to abate recently, attention is turning to what went wrong, according to Bloomberg.

儘管去年台灣疫情控制相當良好,整體致死率依舊高達5%,與去年義大利、英國最初爆發疫情時的數字差不多,而當時人們對病毒仍不熟悉。

Despite Taiwan’s successful curb last year, the fatality rate still reached 5% overall since the first outbreak, which is the same as Italy and the U.K. at the beginning of 2020 when the world was yet unfamiliar with the disease.

A recent Bloomberg report set out to determine the main cause behind Taiwan’s high COVID-19 fatality rate. (Screengrab from Bloomberg website)

中央流行疫情指揮中心發言人莊人祥解釋,這是大批未接種疫苗的高齡族群受病毒襲擊所致,並補充道九成以上的死亡案例皆為60歲以上的長者。

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心) spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) explained that this was due to the virus wave in Taiwan hitting the largely unvaccinated elderly population, with 90% of deaths occurring in those aged 60 or older.

此外,彭博指出,台灣的致死率與鄰近亞洲地區 (如香港及新加坡)相較之下來得高。這些地區針對新冠疫情的應對措施也和去年的台灣一樣,皆備受肯定。

Furthermore, Bloomberg indicated that Taiwan’s death rate is much higher than some nearby places in Asia, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, which were ranked highly on quality of healthcare provision pre-pandemic, just like Taiwan in 2020.

然而台灣為何沒能守住?相較於其他亞洲地區,台灣政府沒有提前簽約購買足夠的疫苗庫存,一直是為人詬病的一點。

Yet the pathogen tore through Taiwan this year, while the country was running short of vaccine supplies, an issue caused by the Taiwanese government making purchases later than others in the region, Bloomberg reported.

香港行政會議成員林正財,也是香港政府疫苗政策團隊的成員,在彭博採訪中指出,雖然香港及台灣皆施行嚴格的邊境及隔離控管政策,然而台灣顯然錯失良機,沒有即時提升篩檢量能及疫苗庫存,並未做足醫療準備。

Lam Ching-choi (林正財), an adviser to the city’s leader of Hong Kong and a member of the government’s working group on vaccination, told Bloomberg that both Hong Kong and Taiwan implemented a similarly strict border and quarantine policy.

Yet Taiwan might not have done enough to ramp up testing capabilities, medical system readiness or vaccine supply, which the situation allowed at the time, Lam added.

前疾管署署長張鴻仁認為,另一大因素歸咎於台灣的醫療體系為了減輕成本負擔而受制於相當低的預算限制,意味著當病毒爆發時,整個體系在短時間內無法即時應對。

The former head of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 疾病管制署), Chang Hong-jen (張鴻仁), also pointed out that Taiwan’s medical care system is sustained on a tight budget to keep costs down, meaning that there was very little excess capacity when the virus spread rapidly.

他表示,「就是錢的問題,政府必須願意承擔額外支出,醫院才有辦法有足夠的量能應對突發狀況。」

“It’s all about money. The government needs to be willing to pay for the redundancy so that we can have spare capacity,” he said.

根據彭博報導,這波疫情也反映出部份亞洲地區,包括台灣,不將此病毒視為流行病來處理,而以剷除病毒為主要目標的「清零政策」的潛在風險。

Bloomberg stressed that the crisis also presented the risk of some areas in Asia, including Taiwan, pursuing a “Covid Zero” strategy of trying to eliminate cases instead of treating the pathogen as endemic.

現在台灣政府表示他們會以將疫情控制在可控範圍內為目標,而非追求完全清零。

Now, Taiwan is asserting that its new coping mechanism will be to bring cases down to a manageably low level instead of aiming to stamp out infection entirely, Bloomberg wrote.

從台灣近期接種率上升可以看出新策略的走向,有賴美國與日本緊急贈送疫苗抵台。

Luckily, Taiwan’s vaccination rate has been improving, supported by emergency deliveries of vaccines from the U.S. and Japan.

近二日,台灣僅新增一例死亡案例。根據政府單位指出,急需治療的病患人數與六月疫情高峰時期相比,下降了六成。

Only one new death was recorded in Taiwan over the past two days. According to government officials, the number of patients has dropped 60% in specialized hospitals’ intensive care units from a June peak as well.