- South Korea has set a new high for COVID-19 deaths, raising fears that the highly transmissible Omicron variant will soon become the dominant strain.
- According to the CDC, 6,919 more people have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 589,978.
On Thursday, officials in South Korea set a new record for COVID-19 deaths, warning that the highly transmissible Omicron variant could soon become the dominant strain.
South Korea has been dealing with an increase in infections and deaths in recent weeks, following a significant relaxation of restrictions in early November as part of efforts to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.
According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, 109 people died in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of pandemic deaths in the country to 5,015. According to the report, the number of patients in serious or critical conditions also reached a new high of 1,083.
According to the CDC, 6,919 more people have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 589,978. Authorities have also confirmed 12 more Omicron variant cases, bringing 246.
Currently, the delta variant is responsible for most newly reported cases in South Korea, but this may change soon.
Lee Sang-won, a senior health official, said earlier this week that the Omicron variant could become the dominant strain in South Korea within a month or two. “A meaningful (level) of infections caused by Omicron could occur in our nation in February or March,” said Jaehun Jung, a professor at Gachon University College of Medicine in South Korea.
Concerned about rising rates of new infections and deaths, South Korea reinstated its strictest distancing measures on Saturday, including a four-person limit on private gatherings and a 9 p.m. curfew on restaurants and cafes.
The influx threatened to overwhelm hospitals, putting the country’s healthcare system under strain.
South Korea is at a “critical juncture,” according to Health Minister Kwon Deok-Cheol, as the risk of its medical system reaching its limits grows. He claims that breakthrough infections and transmissions among unvaccinated people are to blame for an increase in critically ill patients, which he claims is much higher than the government anticipated when it eased distancing restrictions in early November.
Between Nov. 28 and Dec. 18, 36 people died at home or in facilities while waiting for beds, according to government data. According to other data, about 80% of beds in COVID-19 intensive care units in South Korea were occupied as of Wednesday.
According to Kwon, the government intends to secure tens of thousands of new beds and build a capacity to handle 10,000 new cases.
Source: CBC News
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