LEVEL one.five has been declared for the GREATER SEOUL area from this coming Thursday.
For more on the local situation I have Hong Yoo in the studio.
So Yoo the average number of daily infections is on the rise?
Tell us more about this worrying trend.
Yes, Sunhee. As of Monday, a daily average of 1-hundred-22.4 local transmissions were reported over the past week, 33.7 people more than the week before.
Taking a closer look at the figures,around a quarter of them were chain transmissions, as a result of contact with COVID-19 patients, who were family members or close acquaintance in many cases.
This is what KDCA Commissioner Jeong Eun-kyeong had to say on the recent trend.
“The number of daily cases could be in the 300 to 400 range within the next two to four weeks, as the reproductive number of COVID-19 has surpassed 1-pont-1 and now stands at 1.1-2.”
The reproduction rate represents the number of people that a single patient can infect.
In fact, a research team in Japan has found through animal testing, that mutated strains of COVID-19 are more infectious, than the virus in its original form when the pandemic first broke out.
Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a professor of virology at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science, also found that the mutations, while more infectious, were no less severe when it came to symptoms.
I understand this latest outbreak is affecting a greater number of young adults?
Yes. Statistics show that of all the new patients reported in Korea over the past week, more than half are under 40 years old.
Also, many of them showed little to no symptoms, which means there could be many more young patients out there who are unaware that they have COVID-19.
KDCA Commissioner Jeong Eun-kyeong said on Monday, that more testing should be carried out for young people..
Mind you, that even young and healthy individuals can suffer lung or liver damage following a lengthy battle with COVID-19.
This is according to a research team from the University College London, which found that 70 percent of young, and otherwise healthy people suffered from organ damage, after an illness lasting more than 4 months.
A full quarter of them suffered damage in two or more of their organs.
Authorities are also on high alert over a possible twindemic as we have now entered the flu season.
Yes. But thankfully, there have been fewer influenza patients this year than what health authorities had anticipated.
No traces of the influenza virus were found in 109 test samples collected from patients with respiratory symptoms in early-November.
But the KDCA is still recommending people to get their flu shots before the end of this month.
COVID-19 and influenza are difficult to tell apart as they have similar symptoms such as high fever and trouble breathing.
So, the health authorities have issued guidelines to handle patients with respiratory symptoms..
First, they must book an appointment in advance, to prevent the crowding of patients in waiting rooms.
All patients and medical personnel must wear masks and maintain a safe distance between one another.
When diagnosing patients, doctors should avoid pulling down the patients’ mask, and when they have to, they need to wear protective gear.
When influenza is suspected but testing cannot be done at the clinic, doctors will be able to prescribe antivirals starting from this Thursday.
And if COVID-19 is suspected, doctors can give patients a note that allows them to get tested quicker when brought with them to a screening center.
And before you go let’s end with the latest on the vaccine front.
The U.S. biotech firm Moderna announced Monday that its vaccine provided nearly 95 percent protection, according to early data from its phase 3 clinical trial.
This comes on the heels of an announcement last week by BioNTech and Pfizer’s that their vaccine was 90 percent effective.
Until now, no side effects serious enough to suspend development have been reported, aside from minor side effects include pain on the spot of the vaccine shot and slight fever.
The CEO of Moderna said the company’s latest breakthrough could be a real game-changer in the fight against COVID-19.
Moderna is planning to seek FDA authorization within a few weeks.
The CEO of BioNTech said Sunday that we could expect our lives to return to normal by next winter, after the impact of the vaccination begins to manifest starting next summer.
Thank you for that coverage Yoo.