Shocking difference in how the US and South Korea are treating Covid-19

As Covid-19 variants keep emerging, the United States and South Korea have taken wildly different approaches to dealing with the virus. Find out more.

Shocking difference in how the US and South Korea are treating Covid-19
© Yoav Aziz / UNSPLASH
Shocking difference in how the US and South Korea are treating Covid-19

There seems to be a new variant popping up every week at the moment, and some countries are taking Covid more seriously than others. While people are discussing the possibility of another pandemic, others are suggesting we just get on with life as normal. The United States and South Korea are at either ends of the spectrum on this issue.

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The United States

The US has recently joined the list of countries where the Pirola variant has been detected, along with Israel, Denmark and the United Kingdom. Now, a college in Atlanta has called for both students and staff to wear masks again, just days after classes started up again after the summer break.

What about other Covid measures?

The Mirror has reported that students of the liberal arts college have also been told to socially distance and for two weeks, parties and gatherings of friends are banned. Furthermore, the American College of Physicians has published an editorial that calls for face masks to be made mandatory again in all healthcare facilities. Their reasoning is that Covid be serious for those who are already in hospital:

We should find ways to adapt to this new reality rather than accepting unnecessary risks to patient and provider health.

Dr Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA boss, recently said that virologists were concerned about the ‘highly mutated’ variant, but that there was no evidence to suggest this strain is more deadly than ones we have already faced. That being said, covid deaths are once again on the rise in the US.

South Korea

Meanwhile, South Korea plans to reclassify Covid-19 from class 2 to class 4, reports The Korea Herald. For context, this is their lowest infectious disease category; Covid will be sitting alongside the seasonal flu, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, gonorrhoea and syphilis. This new classification will come into place 31 August, health officials say.

This is because the government considers Covid-19 manageable with stability, a decision which was made in part because of a recent decrease in confirmed cases.

Read more:Brits will have to pay for Covid vaccines despite spread of new variants, here's how much it could cost

Coronavirus comeback control

The country still recognises the danger of Covid, and though it has done away with most restrictions,masks are still worn in hospitals and medical institutions. This is something that will be reviewed, as the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency explained:

The decision on whether to lift the mask requirement at vulnerable places will be made later considering the trend of the virus's spread.

Similarly, screening test centres will stay operational for now, and South Korea will continue to keep track of its Covid cases - this is something they have had in place since the pandemic.

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Sources used:

The Korea Herlad: Korea to downgrade COVID-19 to flu level

The Mirror: College brings back Covid masks for students amid rise of new variant BA.2.86

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