Seven weeks ago, the United States & South Korea had equal number of covid19 deaths. Which then stood at 90. Fast forward to date, The U.S has recorded well over 70,000 covid19 deaths, why South Korea stands at below 300.
What exactly was the Korean secret?
When South Korea confirmed her first case of covid19 on January 20th 2020, The virus was only in few countries. The government embarked on contact tracing & isolation of suspected individuals. 30 persons were traced, & isolated. But the 31st person, brought doom to South Korea. A 61 years old South Korean woman with covid19, attended a very popular church in Daegu, on the 16th of February 2020 with over a thousand members.
She touched her finger to a digital scanner. She passed through a pair of glass doors, then moved to the prayer hall downstairs. She sat with approximately 1,000 other worshippers in a large windowless room. Hours later, she exited the building and left behind a trail of pathogens that would lead to thousands of infections, triggering one of the largest coronavirus outbreaks in the world. By the end of February 2020, the United States had very little case of covid19.
Why South Korea holds the record of most COVID-19 patients of any country outside China. New confirmed cases were doubling every few days, and pharmacies were running out of face masks. More than a dozen countries imposed travel restrictions to protect their citizens from the Korean outbreak, including the U.S., which had, at the time, recorded an official COVID-19 death toll low enough to count on one hand. South Korea at some point, was looking like China.
The South Korean government swung into action, haven realize they are on their own. They ordered that church in Daegu, to provide the records of all it’s members. Especially those who attended service with that 61 years old Korean woman, on the 16th of February 2020. They placed phone calls to each member on the list, ordering them to self isolate. With the help of technology, the South Korean government was able to predict the activities of majority on the list, using their call records.
The government contacted more persons to self isolate. Since the virus has spread deep into the country, before it was known, everyone is a potential covid19 case. The South Korean government adapted massive testing, as the magic to flatten the curve, or control the spread. Why practicing social distancing, & compulsory use of PPE. The country was never lockdown partially or completely for once, rather the government activated 6000 easy to drive to, test centers across the country, and 95 world class laboratories.
All working 24/7 for the people of South Korea. Sick or not, an individual who feels exposed to the covid19, can easily walk, or drive to any of the test centers nearest to him or her. Swap test will be conducted, and his or her details will be taken. Especially their phone numbers. The test samples are forwarded to any of the 95 government major Laboratories immediately.
The Lab will analyse the samples, and get back to individuals via phone calls. If you are positive, they will let you know. If negative, they will let you know. If a case is mild, and only requires self isolation, the Lab will let you know. If it’s serious, and requires urgent hospitalization, they will let you know. In all, South Korea was conducting 20,000 covid19 test per day. The highest in the world. Within 3 weeks of massive testing, the govt was able to reduce the number of new cases, from +800 per day, to less than 100 per day.
The curve was flatten, when more people became conscious of themselves, haven known their covid19 status. The spread was curtailed drastically. This downward trend went on and on, until in April 2020, South Korea was completely free from new covid19 cases. Haven previously recorded 10810 cases, with 9419 recoveries, and 256 deaths.
All these happened, without South Korea shutting down any part of the country or Economy.
As far as coronavirus pandemic is concern, the U.S & Europe has failed woefully in flatting the curve, curtail & control the spread, manage confirmed cases properly, or reduce the level of fatalities (deaths). They are not good examples to look up to. Especially by the Nign Govt.Southeast Asian nations has done tremendous job, on the fight against covid19. They are worthy examples to emulate. They have successfully flatten the curves, curtailed the spread, manage confirmed cases better, and above all, recorded fewest numbers of fatalities or deaths.