As COVID-19 prolongs, many people have been getting exhausted. The social distancing level is especially important because the actions we take towards COVID-19 change depending on the level. One of the most discussed issues lately is whether the government should extend social distancing measures to the highest level 3 of not. Then, what is social distancing level 3 and opinions about it. It is a response to the nationwide pandemic of COVID-19. In principle, when the average number of confirmed people with the virus is 800 to 1,000 or more, and the number of confirmed people sharply increases such as doubling in level 2.5, then social distancing level 3 will be implemented. At a time like this, when the virus is prevalent nationwide, it is right to implement level 3, but it is difficult to execute level 3 hastily. This is because the execution of level 3 has a fatal effect on all socioeconomic activities in a country. Therefore, the implementation of level 3 should be discussed carefully. In order to listen to people’s thoughts about it, I interviewed three students at Kyungnam University.
It is necessary to know what changes will be made if the level is upgraded. Various convenience facilities, restaurants, and cultural facilities will be closed, and economic activities of non-regular workers, day laborers, and those who supplement their livelihoods through part-time jobs will be restricted. The majority of people will find it difficult to live a normal life. Therefore, the government should decide the policy direction by considering the damage people will suffer from the implementation of social distancing level 3.
The first is the economic aspect. According to the Korea Federation of Food and Rural Affairs, only packaging and delivery will be possible during level 3, which will lead to the terrible drop in sales. Restaurants that are highly dependent on the number of visiting customers will suffer a lot and there will be unprecedented chaos. In other words, I think it is like not cutting out the rotten part of an apple, but throwing away the whole apple. In other words, it is likely that more people will starve to death than suffer from COVID-19 infection.
The second is the social aspect. In the present situation of level 2 and 2.5, many people suffer anxiety, fear, and depression. We all recognize the inconvenience of living at home and indoors with only a small number of people without a normal social life. The degree of people’s anxiety and fear may be proportional to the extension of social distancing. Therefore, much more serious problems may arise if the harsh social atmosphere accompanied by the pandemic becomes prevalent throughout the country.
We are having a long and hard fight. We are doing our best in our respective positions in the hardest situation. As we have seen above, it seems difficult to upgrade the level to 3 due to economic and social reasons. I think we can overcome the COVID-19 virus if we keep our distance and comply with quarantine rules while maintaining the current situation.
- Choi Sun-woo, Senior from the Department of Art Education
People are criticizing the government for delaying the implementation of social distancing level 3. Nevertheless, the government should be very cautious to implement level 3 because it can seriously affect the whole country’s economy. When level 3 is implemented, people are completely banned from going outside other than purchasing daily necessities. Then, over 2 million stores and facilities across the country will suspend their business or be subjected to restriction, causing astronomical damages to economy. In fact, the earnings of self-employed people who were hit by the level 2 dropped to 68 percent compared to their original ones. Judging from this, the damage from the implementation of level 3 is expected to be much more significant.
Despite these economic losses, on my Instagram feed, there are a series of posts such as a person who traveled to Jeju Island and boasted that he or she went to a restaurant and drank before 9 o'clock. Some people took off their masks and took pictures at their destinations, saying "When will the COVID-19 end?" At this point, the effect of social distancing is questionable.
What is needed now is not to create a conspiracy theory, but to improve the awareness and alertness of individual people. As the government said, the elevation of social distance keeping is no longer a way to silence the COVID-19. Everyone should fully recognize the seriousness of the situation and work with action to calm the situation together. The duty and responsibility to put the situation to rest is on everyone's hands.
- Jo Hae-yun, Senior from the Department of Nursing
Currently, the daily average number of confirmed people is more than 1,000 and although it has already exceeded the standard level 3, reinforced level 2.5 is being implemented in consideration of various socio-economic problems. Although it seems rash to implement level 3 of social distancing in a short period of time, I think the government needs to implement level 3 of social distancing right now to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors and nurses have struggled long-term in the medical field without any systematic measures. According to the COVID-19 Medical Response Team Recognition Survey, 62.9% of 1,112 medical staff and field response teams who treated confirmed patients said they were emotionally depleted due to COVID-19 work. People should be aware that such emotional and physical exhaustion of medical staff will make the country’s situation worse. For the moment, I think the best way to help medical staff is to comply with the quarantine rules well and prevent further confirmation in advance. Accordingly, much stronger social distancing rules should be implemented as soon as possible lest they should be beyond their limits.
Recently, unclear infection paths of confirmed people and the overall confirmation rate have been increasing. Even a mutant virus from Britain and South Africa has appeared. If the infection occurs like this, it will be difficult for COVID-19 to end. Level 3 is blocking everything. Huge economic damage and inconveniences in people's lives are expected. However, for everyone’s safety, it is right to raise the level of social distancing. There is no place to back off. Citizens have to recognize the seriousness of the situation and cooperate with the government's policies and wait for the situation to end as soon as possible.