A chronicle of the war against Covid

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A chronicle of the war against Covid

KANG KI-HEON
The author is an industry 1 team reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.

The shock of the year of Covid-19 is serious. More than 1.76 million lives have been lost. The World Health Organization estimates that 10 percent of the world’s population has been infected. Mankind developed vaccines and is reorganizing the offensive in the fight against the virus. The chronicle of the war against the coronavirus is being written.

Science journal Nature published a study on France on Dec. 21. The country decided to go on lockdown in the early stage but failed to prevent the spread. President Emmanuel Macron recently tested positive and more than 2.5 million people have been diagnosed. France has the fifth-largest number of cases after the United States, India, Brazil and Russia.

The research team at Sorbonne University created a mathematical model and analyzed the spread of the virus during the seven-week lockdown from May 11 to June 28. The outcome is surprising. Despite the tight tracing, nine out of 10 positive cases were missed. The team cites three reasons. First, the virus was a new form most people were not immune to. Second, official records were only made after patients showed serious symptoms. Third, tracing was limited to those patients with symptoms serious enough to infect others.

Asymptomatic positive cases or light symptoms were not counted as part of the tracing network. In other words, human error led to a quiet spread where infection routes could not be confirmed. Pointing out that many patients did not seek medical help despite Covid-19 symptoms, the research team said that a quiet spread can only be prevented when the authorities recommend people to seek medical help on the day they confirm symptoms. France began vaccinations from Dec. 27.

How about Korea, a model of successful disease control? France’s case is worth citing, as more patients have unidentified infection routes in Korea. It is painful that our health authorities were obsessed over their disease control PR and treatment and failed to secure vaccines for medical staff.

There is another thing that the coronavirus chronicle must not miss. The president is responsible for state affairs and should lead vaccine purchase efforts instead of blaming the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

Vaccines are the top priority. The government must not make the mistake of handing out more coupons just because the number of positive cases has decreased. It must not be stingy and must acknowledge its failure. Only then will a new path open.
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