Six months ago the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus or Covid-19 a pandemic. Since then, we’ve lost more than 900-thousand people worldwide to the virus 3-hundred-50 of them in South Korea.
With well over 28 million confirmed cases in 188 countries, coronavirus continues to spread across the world affecting not only those battling the disease, but everyone on this planet today in one way or another.
We’re seeing record unemployment rates our kids are learning from home, overseas travel has picked up a whole new meaning, distancing has become a new norm.
So, as we enter the next six months of our response to this of this pandemic, we have questions.
Where we’ve been, where we go from here, new and lingering questions about the virus itself.

Arirang’s go to medical expert, Dr. Alice Tan, Internist at MizMedi Women’s Hospital joins us live in the studio.

Dr. Alice Tan, welcome back to our show.

Six months into this state of emergency, how are you and how do you think we’re doing one, globally, and two, as a nation?

I regularly come across people who have different stories of when they realized how heavy this was, how long it was going to be with us, how real it was. I think, for me, it was covering KCDC director Dr. Jeong Eun-kyeong’s presser on the day that she said wearing masks were going to be our new normal.
When did you understand the depth and the breadth of what we were confronting?

There is this tension now between balancing public health, economic health, mental health. Looking back on the last six months here in South Korea OR even looking at the tightened social distancing guidelines in the greatere capital area right now, do you think we got that balance right? I’d love to hear from you.

Let’s focus on the infection numbers today. Despite having raised social distancing guidance to this unprecedented level, today’s new Covid-19 cases in the country was reported at 176.
Although that’s a significant drop from the 441 we saw two weeks ago and although we have been seeing a downward trend in the last week, still it’s not the double digit number that health officials would like to see.
As someone without medical expertise, it makes me wonder why it’s taking so long to bring that number down.

Health authorities in the nation say they’ll examine the situation for another day or two and then decide whether they’ll extend the stringent two.five level social distancing guidelines in the Seoul Metro Area. What they’re worried about are the sporadic cluster infections that we wake up to everyday.
But, the more concerning cases are those at major hospitals – the latest one being at Yonsei Severance 23 confirmed with the virus, so far.

What we’re experiencing in South Korea this time is the second wave – the first one having hit in February and March centered in Daegu and the surrounding area. Not only is this second wave concentrated in the densely populated capital area, but it seems like we’re seeing more severely ill cases and more fatalities. Why is that and how do we manage this situation?

World Health Organization experts are now pleading for patience days after a patient injected with a promising antidote fell ill, grinding the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine trial to a halt.
While the pharmaceutical giant is facing an obstacle, Russia and China have announced vaccine approvals.
First, help us understand such discrepancies?

Obviously, it will be a while until a vaccine is rolled out to the public and even that will not be a magic bullet. Six months into the pandemic, how have our lives changed – from the way we learn, the way we work, to the we interact with one another – how are we adapting to the changes and how should we as we enter the next six months of Covid-19?

Last but not least, we have one of the biggest national holidays coming up here in Korea – the Chuseok holidays. What are your thoughts on easing social distancing regulations ahead of the holidays?

Dr. Alice Tan, as always thank you for your insights and expertise. We always appreciate you here at Arirang News.

Reporter : jenmoon@arirang.co.kr

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