It’s not over until it’s over

Home > Opinion > Editorials

print dictionary print

It’s not over until it’s over

The curve of Covid-19 infection cases has reversed direction to north after a continuing decline since March. In the last week of June, new positive cases hit 59,844, up 21.2 percent from the previous week. The Rt — measuring the effective reproduction number — rose to 1.05 above the 1 threshold for the first time since the final week of March. An Rt value above 1.0 means infection is spreading fast — and slowly when below 1.0.

Authorities worry that the people who had been infected during the January-March peak of the Omicron variant could be losing immunity. New mutants like BA.5 also pose a danger. No doubt summer vacation and various summer festivals can worsen the situation. Amid the unusual sizzling heat wave this year, citizens prefer air conditioned indoors to outside. The central disease control headquarters cited experts who warn the possibility of daily infection cases may climb back to 150,000 to 200,000 as before.

Vigilance against the virus also has eased considerably. The hot spots and club areas in Seoul and other cities are crowded with young people through the night. Among the people who were newly infected last week, people in their 20s took up 22.2 percent, the largest share.

Authorities must come up with new effective measures. The new Yoon Suk-yeol administration underscored the importance of scientific quarantine. It must refer to the private-led advisory board to present new ways to respond to the infection.

First of all, the government must come to fast judgment on whether a mandatory fourth inoculation is necessary. Many are cancelling vaccine booking amid rumors of side effects for those aged 60 or older. Since public health authorities said they are discussing the matter with medical experts, they must set the guidelines as quickly as possible.

Instead of enforcing tough social restrictions, health authorities must concentrate on enhancing hospital capacity. Although there are enough beds for now, the situation can change if the spread increases again.

Self-employed businesses and small merchants have suffered big from draconian social restrictions over the past two and a half years. The country is facing the worst inflation since the oil shocks in the 1970s with the headline inflation rate soaring to 6.0 percent in June from the previous month due to supply shortages.

The conservative Yoon administration must not repeat the past mistake of politicizing quarantine measures. It must act fast to contain the spread based on scientific grounds. Civilians also must raise their vigilance against Covid-19 and abide by self-hygiene measures.
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)