Source: South Korea COVID-19 News  Dec 14, 2021  5 months ago
BREAKING! South Korea Reports Unprecedented COVID-19 Surge As Public Healthcare Collapses. 5,567 New Infections, 94 Deaths And 906 New ICU Cases!
BREAKING! South Korea Reports Unprecedented COVID-19 Surge As Public Healthcare Collapses. 5,567 New Infections, 94 Deaths And 906 New ICU Cases!
Source: South Korea COVID-19 News  Dec 14, 2021  5 months ago
South Korea COVID-19 News: South Korea healthcare authorities are reporting that the country is going through an unprecedented COVID-19 surge believed to be driven by 4 new Delta sub-variants including the AY.4.2, AY.25.1 and AY104. A fourth subvariant is currently being classified as it was found to have even more unique mutations found on it but is still part of the Delta lineage.

                                                Photo Credit: KIM HONG-JI/ REUTERS

Although the Micron variant has already been detected in the country there are less than 17 confirmed cases so far.
Many local physicians and hospital directors have admitted that the public healthcare system has already collapsed as many hospitals are now turning away patients due to shortage of staff and lack of beds. Health experts warn that the country's medical system is quickly approaching its limits and that fatalities could worsen if the government continues to be slow and hesitant in tightening social distancing.
Tuesday marked its deadliest day of the pandemic as an unrelenting, delta-driven spread stretched thin hospitals and left people dying while waiting for beds.
In the last 24 hours, health authorities reported 5,567 new COVID-19 Infections, 94 COVID-19 Deaths and 906 New COVID-19 ICU Admissions according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.
The 5,567 new infections were the highest yet for a Tuesday as daily tallies are usually smaller at the start of the week because of fewer tests on weekends – indicating the virus has continued to gain speed after the government moderately tightened social distancing last week.
South Korea reported around 6,000 new cases a day last week, including three consecutive days of over 7,000. That was three times the level of 2,000 at the start of November, when the government significantly eased social distancing rules in what officials described as the first step toward restoring pre-pandemic normalcy.
A senior Health Ministry official, Park Hyang told South Korea COVID-19 News that medical resources are quickly running out in densely populated capital Seoul and nearby metropolitan areas, where around 86% of intensive care units designated for COVID-19 treatment were already occupied. More than 1,480 patients were still waiting to be admitted to hospitals or treatment shelters. At least 17 patients died last week at home or at facilities while waiting for beds.
Government officials have been squeezing hospitals to set aside more beds for COVID-19 patients and scrambling to speed up the administration of booster shots by shortening the interval between second and third shots from four or five months to three months starting this week. As of Tuesday, more than 81% in a population of more than 51 million were fully vaccinated, but only 13% were administered booster shots.
The South Korean government may decide to further strengthen restrictions this week, depending on the numbers of infections and hospitalization, Park said during a briefing.
Many experts say South Korea's devastating surge underscores the risk of putting economic concerns before public health when many newly emerging highly contagious Delta subvariants has reduced the effectiveness of vaccines and most people are still waiting for their booster shots.
By allowing larger gatherings, longer indoor dining hours and fully reopening schools, officials had predicted that improving vaccination rates will suppress hospitalizations and deaths even if the virus continues to spread.
However, there has been a surge in hospital admissions among people in their 60s or older, who weren't fully vaccinated or whose immunities have waned after being inoculated during the earlier phase of the vaccine rollout, which began in February.
Surprisingly even as infections grew this month, the government has been hesitant in re-imposing stronger restrictions, citing public fatigue, and President Moon Jae-in had declared that the country will not "retreat to the past."
Health and government officials waited until last week to modestly sharpen social distancing, banning private gatherings of seven or more people in the greater capital region and requiring adults to verify their vaccination status to use restaurants and other indoor venues.
Many medical experts have called for stronger curbs, such as work from home and expanding the government's financial support to small businesses to ensure compliance with social distancing.
A coalition of doctors' groups, including the Korean Society of Infectious Diseases, said in a statement on Monday, "What we absolutely need now is an urgent standstill to allow our medical system to restore its ability to respond (to the virus). We express deep concern that there will be a high possibility of serious fatalities if (the government) fails to employ stronger measures to reverse the crisis before it's too late."

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