Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The new coronavirus: how should the world respond? | The Economist

Normal
(0)
Difficulty: 0

The covid-19 virus is rapidly spreading

Europes open borders are closing

Much of America shutting down

Its deadly effects are being felt around the world

At least 565 people are dead

One hospital reportedly receiving a new patient every five minutes

And the global economy is crashing

Financial panic rocked world markets again today

I think its clear were going into a recession

Its become clear only in the last few days...

...exactly the scale of the challenge that the world now faces with this virus

Governments are taking unprecedented steps to monitor...

...and contain the highly contagious diseaseand save lives

We have to get this problem fixed

Without drastic measures it would overwhelm any health system in the world

But what are the best strategies to prevent the disease from spreading?

And what can the world learn from China, Singapore and South Korea...

...some of the first countries that were forced to react to this pandemic

Covid-19 was first detected in China

And despite early reluctance to admit to the outbreak...

...the country has shown that it is possible to halt the spread of the virus...

...by putting in place extreme measures

Never in history had a country taken such severe measures...

...and applied them so rigorously and even thuggishly...

...where they felt necessary in order...

...to try and stop the spread of a new disease

The Chinese government put 60m people living in Hubei province...

...on lockdown for nearly two months...

...as well as introducing other measures

It appears to have worked

China has had more coronavirus cases than any other country

But following the lockdown, the number of new infections has been falling

Its gone from thousands of new cases per day in February...

...to just a handful of new cases each day in mid-March

I think that actually its kind of shown whats possible and set a new norm

China managed to suppress coronavirus

The latest research from scientists at Imperial College London...

...a British university, suggests that other countries may benefit...

...from a similarly drastic approach

They predicted how two different strategies to fight covid-19...

...might pan out in America and in Britain

One is what they call mitigation...

...which is to try and lower the intensity of the outbreak...

...at its most extreme in order to cut deaths...

...and to help health services cope with it

Mitigation focuses on the ill and vulnerable...

...isloating them at home to try and stop the spread

Britain has around eight critical-care beds for every 100,000 people

If nothing was done to curb coronavirus...

...demand for critical care would outstrip capacity by 30 times

The most successful mitigation strategies could flatten the curve dramatically...

...reducing peak demand by two thirds

But the system would still be overwhelmed eight times over

And many people would still die

Researchers from Imperial College say a suppression approach...

...like that seen in China, would be more likely to save lives

Suppression, where you try and squash the disease down...

...so that it actually temporarily dies out in the population

And that you need stronger social distancing...

...and you need to sustain it for longer

Suppression imposes social distancing on whole populations...

...not just those with symptoms, and may also require...

...school closures for up to five months

Modelling suggests it can keep demand for critical care...

...under maximum capacity

...meaning doctors would be able to treat...

...all of the most seriously ill patients, saving lives

But as soon as these measures are lifted...

...the virus can quickly return, overwhelming health systems

Thats because people keeping away from each other...

...means they dont catch the disease and so dont develop...

...the immunity that comes with fighting it

So, this is a very sobering assessment

Its obviously a model but its the best information we have...

...and its the best basis for thinking...

...about the progress of this disease

All eyes will be on China...

...to see whether it can stop the virus from coming back in a second wave...

...as it lifts its restrictions

But one thing has already become clear from China...

...the economic cost of suppression is very high

If you look at the figures this week coming out of China...

...about the economic consequences...

...theyve been several times worse than most forecasts

Retail sales have gone down 20%

They were expected to go down about 4%

Fixed-asset investment has gone down 24%

Thats many times more than people were expecting

This presents the world with a real dilemma

Its going to be hard to deal with...

...and its going to be even more costly to deal with

And how do you begin to balance and reconcile...

...those two very, very difficult things?

Despite the serious economic consequences...

...many countries are opting for suppression policies in order to save lives

A day of sombre language...

...heralding state interventions unprecedented in modern peacetime

The advice was clear, a request to the public to...

...do something difficult, disruptive, draconian

France is just hours away from a nationwide lockdown

But must measures be as extreme as those taken in China?

One South-East Asian country has, so far, been a role-model...

...for how to suppress the virus early

The number of new cases per day in Singapore has been very low

The country has had fewer than 350 confirmed coronavirus cases in total...

...far less than would be expected given its close links with China

And so far no one in the country has died from the virus

Its done it by very, very clear messaging

Here in Singapore we have all along taken covid-19...

...with the utmost seriousness

The advice that Singapore has given its citizens...

...it was upfront that this was a big threat, that it was going to be difficult

And these are the measures that people needed to do

We have to be mentally prepared for the number...

...of infected cases in Singapore to go up

Where you see, for instance, I have to say, regrettably in the United States...

...very mixed messaging, the undermining of officials...

...the confused, contradictory messages coming out of the White House

That doesnt help

It may now be too late for many countries...

...to prevent the virus from taking hold

But governments could learn from South Korea...

...where coronavirus infected more than 800 people per day at its peak

There was a moment at this when it looked as if South Korea...

...was in real trouble because the disease got away from them

All sorts of cases started popping up unexpectedly

Yet its government managed to suppress the disease through...

...a national programme of testing...

...coupled with aggressive case tracking and isolation

It was highly effective at reducing infection rates

South Korea had a clear sense of where the disease was

What measures to take

And that has helped it isolate people and to shut down this disease

South Korea has tested around 310,000 people for coronavirus

Apart from China, other countries have lagged far behind...

...despite pleas from the World Health Organisation

You cannot fight a fire blindfolded

We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test

As the pandemic develops, testing could be key to identifying...

...who is safe to be in publicincluding those who have already had the virus...

...and who should be in isolation

The testing is going to have to change in future

The tests that are being used at the moment...

...which detect fragments of genetic material from the virus...

...in peoples bodies isnt a very good test for those...

...who have recovered from the disease because...

...that material might have disappeared

Instead, you need to look for antibodies to the disease in peoples blood

And these are the tests that you need to start doing at a high level...

...so you can identify the population that is immune

China, Singapore and South Korea have provided valuable lessons...

...for the rest of the world

They have proved that suppression in the short-term can be effective

But until a vaccine is developed...

...which will take some months at the very least...

...strict measures will remain in place

It will be so demanding and demoralising...

...I think that societys willingness to go through this...

...again and again and again, which is what the modelling suggests...

...is required if youre going to suppress the disease altogether

I dont think people will tolerate that

Governments have to give people hope and opportunity...

...to be able for lives to return to normal

And they need to find ways to get money to businesses...

...so that they dont all collapse and...

...the economy isnt really severely harmed by the disease

Thats a very tall order

And even with so much uncertainty about the coronavirus...

...policymakes are going to have to think and act...

The Description of The new coronavirus: how should the world respond? | The Economist