Coronavirus South Korea Seoul Icheon Gyeonggi-do Daejeon Chungcheongnam-do Jeju-do Chungcheongbuk-do Gyeongsangbuk-do Gyeongsangnam-do Jeollanam-do Gnagwon-do Jeollabuk-do Ulsan Daegu Busan Gwangju
Coronavirus South Korea
It’s harder to get an accurate number for nationwide testing in the U.S. because the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control only records the tests performed at their agency’s labs or at state public health labs. (And that number is kind of embarrassing at 94,514.) But the vast majority of the tests in the U.S are done through private labs, which aren’t included in the CDC count.
The COVID Tracking Project, a nationwide dataset managed by volunteer analysts and journalists, reported 344,728 tests as of March 24 (it’s 418,810 as of today, March 25). And the total for the eight days between March 16 and March 24 comes to 304,605 tests, according to the tracker. So, that’s 43,790 fewer tests than the past eight weeks in South Korea.
Coronavirus South Korea Deaths
In a press conference on March 24, President Donald Trump stated that “We’ve done more tests in eight days than South Korea has done in eight weeks,” referring to tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. But his claim is false. Here are the actual numbers.
The Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has been publishing a daily COVID-19 test report since they began testing on Jan. 3. In the eight weeks between Jan. 28 (when 187 tests had already been recorded) and March 24, the KCDC recorded 348,395 tests (in all, KCDC had recorded 348,582 tests since Jan.3).
Coronavirus South Korea News
But total testing numbers aren’t a useful metric when the population of the two countries is so different. With a population of about 329 million, the U.S. supports far more people than South Korea, at about 51.5 million. A better comparison of testing prowess would adjust for population size.
“If a country has five people in it, of course they could only have five tests,” Dr. Robert Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a co-discoverer of HIV, told Kaiser Health News and PolitiFact.
Although both countries reported their first cases of COVID-19 on the same day (Jan. 20), South Korea’s testing rate is already six times higher than the test rate in the U.S. So far, the U.S. test rate is about 1,048 tests per million people and South Korea’s is 6,764 tests per million people.
Coronavirus South Korea Latest News
Testing has ramped up in the past few days in the U.S., but it took the country about seven weeks to really get moving with testing. South Korea had already run around 80,000 tests in that time period, which experts say has contributed to the country’s ability to contain the virus so well.
“South Korea followed up tests vigorously to support isolation and quarantine — the steps needed to reduce spread,” Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore told Kaiser Health News and Politifact. “The U.S. has a long ways to go to develop this critical capacity.”
Coronavirus South Korea Cases
I first heard of the virus at the end of January, during my Lunar New Year vacation in Taiwan. On my group tour of Taipei, there were whispers among fellow travelers about how serious the situation had gotten in China, and concern it would eventually spread. But like many others around the world, I wasn’t particularly worried at the time. By the time I returned to Korea a week later, everything had changed. Cluster infections were breaking out all over the country, face masks and hand sanitizer were quickly out of stock, and travel restrictions were put in place. The government released strict guidelines of preventative measures to control the spread, and for the most part, I saw others around me listening — and data suggested that the nation listened as well.
Two weeks later, it all felt like it was hitting closer to home — public schools were closed, and we were all advised to self-quarantine. I work in a Korean English academy, locally known as a hagwon, and my salary is based on students’ tuition. While I knew it was a tough call for my bosses and colleagues, and many other private institutions, to close their doors, I was relieved I no longer had to teach a room full of worried children who couldn’t help but question their safety as they picked up on the situation around them.
Coronavirus South Korea Update
It appears that much of the disease-spreading in Korea has been through churches. Due to the sheer volume of people in close proximity, it seems that religious gatherings create the perfect environment for what’s now known as cluster spreading. Korea’s outbreak started in the city of Daegu when the virus spread among members of the Shincheonji religious sect, according to the Korea Herald. Patient 31, dubbed the “super-spreader,” reportedly resisted testing and then attended religious services and a wedding. Now, reports suggest that cases in Daegu account for more than half of Korea’s infections.
Even with the amount of cases in Korea ballooning at the time, I felt I would be safer here than anywhere else. The reality is that my job provides me with housing and national health care. If I were to return to America, I’d be unemployed and uninsured. How would I get by if I actually did contract the virus? I also didn’t want to risk bringing the virus back with me, especially since my mom is older and has health conditions that compromise her immune system. The choice seemed clear.
Some of my fellow teachers pulled what we call “midnight-runs” (leaving Korea unannounced) and fleeing to their home countries, out of fear of the virus compounded in part with the financial stress of possibly losing their jobs if schools remained closed. At first, I wondered if I should have done the same. But my faith in the South Korean government’s ability to handle this pandemic has proven to hold true, because it feels like the situation is improving here with each passing day. The amount of new infections has significantly decreased, from thousands each week to fewer than a hundred per day.