An apartment complex in Seoul’s Guro-gu District had at least 32 infections as of Thursday evening.
What’s startling is that the initial cluster of eight cases were not from a single household, or even the same floor.
Rather, they were from five different households on five different floors.
The building’s elevator is suspected as a possible transmission route.
The ventilation system was also initially suspected as those apartments are all located directly below each other.
But health authorities and experts have largely ruled out such a possibility.
“Ventilating systems COULD be another source, given the possibility of aerosol infection, but we can’t be sure about that as air is not the major method of transmission.”
After reviewing 14 different samples, Guro District confirmed Thursday evening that the ventilating system was not the route of transmission.
These kinds of cluster infections have surged drastically over the past few weeks, with a new list of COVID-19 hotspots, including a meat factory where one of the infected apartment residents works.
But, it is highly unlikely that the virus has mutated to contribute to this current spike given that the prominent strain found now and several months ago is the same GH strain.
“Even when the situation was relatively under control, transmissions continued quietly via asymptomatic patients or those with mild symptoms. But as social distancing was loosened and people engaging in social activities, it became an environment where transmissions occurred more easily.”
The professor added that tracing the sources of these fast-spreading transmissions is very difficult and wouldn’t help contain the outbreak.
It seems only stronger social distancing measures can prevent the situation from getting any worse.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.