The abrupt outbreak of the novel virus, officially named as Corona Virus Infectious Diseases-19 (COVID-19), has been dominating headlines around the world. The World Health Organization declared that the global COVID-19 crisis is a pandemic as the virus has spread to every continent except Antarctica on March 11th, 2020. The pandemic is equivalent to level 6, the highest warning rating for infectious diseases declared by the WHO. It is the third time the WHO has declared the pandemic following the Hong Kong flu in 1968 and the Swine flu in 2009. As anxieties over COVID-19 spread rapidly, demands for hand-sanitizers and face masks surged in the early stages, making supply difficult. However, Thanks to pharmacies and retailers who collaborated on the authorities' actions, the demand is stabilized to some extent. Like this, the virus has sparked global concerns. Let’s dig deep into this virus.
1. Is COVID-19 lethal?
Although the fatality rate is low, the virus is highly infectious. However, we cannot feel relieved about it. This virus is especially fatal to people with weak immune systems due to age or illness. Older people with impaired immune systems are more likely to be infected with the virus than other age groups. Most victims of the virus in Korea have been elderly patients aged over 80. If infected, symptoms can quickly worsen and even result in death. Moreover, there are some asymptomatic patients. COVID-19 can spread even when people have no symptoms. Therefore, individuals should be mindful of personal hygiene and are required to follow sanitation recommendations and advice for its prevention.
2. What are the precautionary rules of COVID-19?
There are four basic rules. First, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water for 30 seconds to minimize infection risk. The best way to prevent the virus is to wash your hands as often as possible. Second, keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. You may come into contact with the virus on a surface like a doorknob. When this happens, the germs can linger on your hands. You can easily infect yourself if you touch your face with dirty hands. In addition, use an alcohol disinfectant to clean surfaces so it can reduce the risk of the infection. Third, do not go to work if you have a fever or coughing symptoms. Since the virus causes a respiratory infection, coughing and sneezing are common symptoms. Lastly, wear a facemask when using public transportation or visiting public places. When you have a fever or cough, do not go to see a doctor right away. Check symptoms at home first and call the community health center or call center (1339).
Even in this chaotic situation, a crisis always reflects the true character and strength of a nation. In the case of their responses to the emergency caused by COVID-19, people and the government of South Korea won praise from around the world for their collective resilience and collaboration. Korean responses to COVID-19 were rapid and effective. South Korea has been preventing the spread of the virus through innovative drive-thru testing, rapid diagnosis, and transparent information sharing. Moreover, Korean medical staffs made headlines around the world by developing a walk-through testing following a drive-thru testing which can get ten- minute medical check-ups while remaining inside the car. The walk-through testing is a one-person infection safety clinic that allows suspected patients and medical staffs to get and conduct examinations in completely blocked booths. This testing drew more attention not only because it can be installed in a small space, but also because it can shorten the examination time and lower infection concerns among medical staffs. Thanks to the system, which ends in just five minutes, daily testing increased sevenfold. Besides, the Internet and SNS networks are well developed, so people can share information in real time. Citizens are able to check the movements of the confirmed cases through the disaster warning text messages or on the Internet, so they can avoid contact with the confirmed patients. Like this, Korean responses to the novel virus and its data accuracy are becoming a model for the WHO to show interest in.
Currently, the death rate of Korea from the COVID-19 is lower than other countries' averages due to the efforts of many Korean medical staffs. Korea’s amazing citizenship has been drawing attention in that they control the COVID-19 without any city blockades. Although people are all working hard to overcome the COVID-19, it would be better for all people to have a more mature sense of citizenship to thoroughly defeat this crisis. In addition to the efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the heroic efforts of the Korean medical staffs and maintaining social distance have been contributed to preventing the pandemic and can make people see the light at the end of the tunnel faster.