WATCH: COVID-19 Expert Explains South Korea’s Effective Measures Dealing With The Pandemic

Written by K. Walker on March 31, 2020

This virologist is on the ground in South Korea and has all the info…

Professor Kim Woo-Ju currently teaches about infectious diseases at Korean Hospital Guro University in Seoul. He has worked in the field for 30 years and says that COVID-19 is the most challenging to deal with–even when he compares it to other infectious diseases like tuberculosis, AIDS, SARS, H1N1, and MERS.

He discusses where the virus came from, why it’s so contagious, and how to mitigate transmission.

Some of the ways that they have reduced the transmission rate in some Asian countries won’t go over well in the United States because of cultural differences and our vastly different views on government intervening on our privacy. Still, it’s a really interesting watch.

Dr. Woo-Ju says that the coronavirus came from bats, but that there was an intermediary host–either pangolins or snakes and then to humans. The death rate is very high on average at 2% to 3% of those infected, however, it varies by country. This is because of the differences in quarantine measures, quality of healthcare, and demographics. Italy’s death rate is 8%-9% due in large part to their high elderly population.

It’s a new virus which means that there is no vaccine or reliable, successful treatment regimen.

He also says that because South Korea has been rigorous in testing, they have better information than other countries and have been able to determine fatality rates by age group. Dr. Woo-Ju also says that 20% of those that test positive do not show symptoms.

Here is Korea’s death rate by age group as of March 24:

  • 11.6% for those aged 80+
  • 6.3% for people in their 70s
  • 1.5% for individuals in their 60s
  • 0.4% for those in their 50s
  • 0.1% for patients in their 40s and the same for those in their 30s (1 patient each)
  • no deaths for those in their teens or 20s
  • 90% of deaths were those aged 60+

Those younger than 50 might only feel mild, cold-like symptoms for 1-2 weeks and recover, or they may be asymptomatic. The problem is that they can still spread the virus to those at risk.

After age 60, Dr. Woo-Ju says that your immune system deteriorates and cannot fight the virus, which can lead to pneumonia.

He also says that there is still so much that is not known about the virus, but we’re learning.

Dr. Woo-Ju says that the WHO’s recommendation that people don’t need to wear masks is part of why the virus is spreading. In South Korea, most people are wearing masks and the spread has slowed because masks work.

He ends the video with the following advice–wash your hands often, wear a mask, and socially distance yourself from others. It’s not just about you, but about protecting those that you love that you could put at risk.

ClashDaily's Associate Editor since August 2016. Self-described political junkie, anti-Third Wave Feminist, and a nightmare to the 'intersectional' crowd. Mrs. Walker has taken a stand against 'white privilege' education in public schools. She's also an amateur Playwright, former Drama teacher, and staunch defender of the Oxford comma. Follow her humble musings on Twitter: @TheMrsKnowItAll and on Gettr @KarenWalker