It is little more than six months since a novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s Wuhan late last year arrived in South Korea.
A tourist from Wuhan tested positive on Jan. 20, becoming the first confirmed patient of COVID-19 here. About a month later, the country experienced an explosion of infections, with as many as 909 cases reported in a single day.
Fast-forward to mid-August, the virus hasn’t gone away. But it appears to be under control. Daily new cases have remained under 50, with occasional fluctuations from a spike in imported cases or the discovery of small-scale cluster infections at home.
On the frontlines of COVID-19 wards, a sense of confidence is growing that lives can be saved.
The overall fatality rate is still above 2 percent, but the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a significant drop in fatalities since May.
Only 0.98 percent of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 from May to July have lost their lives to the disease. None of the patients under the age of 60 have died. Only 3.76 percent of those aged 60 or older couldn’t be saved. This compares to a fatality rate of 2.46 percent for all ages reported in the Feburary-April period and 9.5 percent for the 60-plus age group.