The COVID-19 pandemic across South Korea is only getting worse day after day. As of Wednesday, the daily number of newly confirmed cases exceeded 340,000, way higher than the government’s predictions. Medical experts worry that serious and critical patients will increase further around later this month or early next month, bringing the medical system to crisis.
As of midnight on Wednesday, 342,446 were newly confirmed cases, around 140,000 up from the previous day, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). Newly confirmed cases a day tend to decrease on Mondays and Tuesdays when the number of those tested reduced over weekends is reflected and rebounds starting from Wednesdays. Nevertheless, the figure shows a greatly big gap by 1.6 times from 219,224 last Wednesday.
The COVID-19 spread is worsening more seriously and at a faster pace than expected by quarantine authorities, which projected that the number of newly confirmed cases as of Wednesday will reach 230,000, higher by 110,000 than the actual level. Also, a peak figure of around 354,000 was expected to be reached sometime between Saturday and Tuesday, which is highly likely to happen earlier. As the government’s lessening of quarantine regulation has driven up the number of confirmed cases, it will arrive at a way higher peak than expected.
The Omicron variant, the main driver of the COVID-19 situation across South Korea, has been spreading faster than other variants but involves a smaller number of serious patients and deaths. However, as the overall number of confirmed cases increases greatly, serious patients and deaths rise in numbers proportionately and swiftly. The number of serious and critical patients exceeded the 1,000 threshold for two days running as 1,087 were reported as of midnight on Wednesday. Also, 158 died of the coronavirus on Wednesday, recording a three-digit figure for the recent week. There is a great concern among health experts that the medical system will face a serious crisis late this month to early next week given that serious patients go up in numbers around two weeks after the number of confirmed cases peaks.