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An Eyewitness Perspective
on How South Korea Tackled
the COVID-19 Virus

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Posted By: Magnante, 4/4/2020 9:50:40 AM

While the Trump administration is forecasting some 100 - 240k or more deaths from the coronavirus scare (and lots of hell) over the next few weeks, South Korea is well on its way in sliding out of its bell curve since the middle of March. South Korea was also hit pretty hard with this virus, being right next door to China. (snip) South Korea has a crowded population of some 52 million people crammed into a geographical location about the size of Indiana, a perfect situation for a pandemic to spread – but it didn't.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: judy 4/4/2020 10:18:30 AM (No. 368199)
SK population 51 million US population 327 million ...no comparison
3 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: Periwinkel 4/4/2020 10:28:00 AM (No. 368208)
#1 is correct to a certain extent. The comparison would be Chicago, New York City and the other "hot spots". Wouldn't they be a good place to try? Since President Trump turned the decision making to the various states it is up to the governors and mayors to start getting a handle on this. And in the future, we should make certain Democrat presidents and congresses don't go getting rid of stockpiles for future pandemics.
5 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: Speedypetey 4/4/2020 10:33:42 AM (No. 368219)
The quarantining of those with mild symptoms would help but we know families in my town where the wife, a nurse, had it but the husband showed no signs and their 2 year old child spent time between 60 year old grandparents again with no sign. How would that be handled? The antibody tests when available to everyone will do more to screen. I am hopeful that those with antibodies high which drops the mortality rate and to keep health care system the the compassionate providers safe a monoclonal antibody injection will be available soon. Just get the 46,000 employees at the NIH, CDC and FDA to do their jobs for a change.
3 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: DVC 4/4/2020 10:43:36 AM (No. 368233)
How many Americans would put up with the government grabbing them and moving them to a quarantine center? I don't think that this sort of thing would go well here.
3 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: DVC 4/4/2020 10:53:43 AM (No. 368250)
The other difference is that S. Korea 38,500 square miles. The USA 3.8 million square miles, 1,000 times the area. Just massively different in the transportation issues. The country is about 260 miles north-south, and 160 miles east-west, and relatively low population Kansas is 400 miles east-west, 200 miles north-south, more than twice the area of S. Korea, with 3 million people, 6% of Korea's total population. And Seoul metro area has about 25 million people, half of their total population in one close-in area. Easier to have one sort of solution when half of all your people are in the same city/metro area. Just not even remotely the same problem.
7 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: ladydawgfan 4/4/2020 10:54:39 AM (No. 368251)
South Korea also doesn't have rabid leftists, including the media actively trying to take down a duly elected president for everything from having a hangnail to farting in bed, simply because he beat their preferred pre-annointed candidate for the presidency!!
11 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: jeffkinnh 4/4/2020 11:36:51 AM (No. 368311)
I think there ARE some takeaways from this. First, even adjusting for overall population size differences the US has 6 times the number of deaths and 4 times the number of cases. Next, we have seen that close proximity makes it spread faster. The US is far less densely populated. That should work in our favor but it hasn't. The KEY difference is testing. SK started testing almost immediately and ISOLATED those testing positive. The CDC totally bungled our early testing. We did not catch up to the raw number of SK tests until March 24th, 10 days ago. If you adjust for population to match SKs current 432,000 tests done, we should have done 2.6 million tests by now instead of the 1.3 million that we have actually done. Bureaucratic foul ups prevented us from knowing who is sick and who is not. Germany has ramped up tests similarly to SK and is seeing better success as well. Testing AND isolation of the sick may not be the only factor but it is certainly an important one. The US is now ramping up testing faster than any other country but the horse may already be out of the barn. CDC incompetence may have cost us a vital edge.
7 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: davew 4/4/2020 11:37:55 AM (No. 368314)
What appears to be a difference is the ability of South Korea to scale their PCR testing much faster and to detect the virus sooner for a larger part of their population. The CDC in the US was not prepared to scale their test fast enough to meet the demand. Some of this may have been the "not invented here" bias of professional organizations that rejected the available tests manufactured in South Korea. The sensitivity and selectability stats for their tests may not have met the more stringent CDC standards and they let the "perfect" be the enemy of the "good". In any pandemic the virus is expanding exponentially and the medical system only reacts linearly. The delay meant that many more people in the US were asymptomatically transferring the disease for a longer time than in South Korea which cause the "brushfire" to get out of control in critical areas of the US.
8 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: Skeptical1 4/4/2020 12:29:30 PM (No. 368368)
"They were also very proactive, in testing and separating anyone who tested positive for the virus, whether they were showing symptoms or not." That sounds like the way to do it, but their testing and separation may not have been as comprehensive as this piece makes it sound. A BBC article from March 12 said that "the country has the capacity to test 140,000 samples a week", which is still a small sample of their population, drawn primarily, it appears, from those who felt symptomatic. It goes on to quote an official who says: "We can't quarantine and treat all patients. Those who have mild symptoms should stay home and get treated." (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-51836898) Still, give credit where it's due, it does look like they responded very well.
2 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: DVC 4/4/2020 12:43:24 PM (No. 368381)
Having half your population in one metro area where you could set up testing centers, and quarantine centers in one or two locations, pretty ideal situation. Isolation is good, no question about it. How would many Americans respond to a requirement to be tested and then quarantined away from home for a couple of weeks? I think it would not go well here, big differences in social norms, personal independence concepts. A lot of this could have been tried in NYC, but with DeBozo in charge? Fat chance. And lots of parts of the US are not doing badly. I have relatives in SC and GA, each has about 15 cases in their whole county, and low single digits hospitalized, no deaths, people staying home. Even in the most densely populated part of KS, 550,000 county population, we have 170 cases, about 40 hospitalized in the county, 7 deaths. Far lower numbers are reported in other KS counties, most counties with no cases at all. This is pretty much a big city problem in the USA. NY state has about 7 times the population of KS, but has 190 times the number of deaths. And they have 166 times the number of cases. Subways, buses, elevators where you live and work, jammed sidewalks - perfect for spreading diseases, and things we don't have much of in our area. Rural or small city areas are naturally more 'distanced'.
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Reply 11 - Posted by: czechlist 4/4/2020 1:39:24 PM (No. 368452)
"Fog of war"? We really don't know the reality and probably will not know for several years. We are reacting to what we think we know, not to reality. Simplified quotes: " there are things we know, things we know we don't know and things we don't know we don't know. ". " you go to war with the army you have" Donald Rumsfeld
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