‘Doubling’ of severe Covid-19 patients continues to occur every week. The pace at which new confirmed Covid-19 cases increase is slowing a bit, but with ‘asymptomatic, hidden Covid-19 cases’ rampant, the disease is feared to surge anew after the summer vacation season.
According to the Central Disease Control Headquarters, the number of severe Covid-19 patients who were receiving treatment as of Sunday midnight was 284. The number thus jumped 1.9 times during a week period from 146 on July 24. It also represents four times the number from two weeks ago (July 17) when it stood at 71. As the weekly number of severe Covid-19 patients has jumped, the weekly number of deaths has also increased 33 percent from the previous week to 174.
The daily number of new Covid-19 cases came to 73,589 as of Sunday midnight. When only considering the number of new confirmed cases, the pace at which Covid-19 cases have increased appears to be slowing. However, since there are many ‘hidden Covid-19 patients’ or people who have failed to take the Covid test despite being infected, the scale of the current wave could actually be bigger than the number of reported cases.
Experts estimate that the number of Covid-19 patients who are confirmed through the test only represent two thirds of the number of actual cases in Korea. If hidden cases are included, the actual number of Covid-19 patients would reach twice the number of confirmed cases announced daily by the health authority. As more people will be on the move in the wake of the summer vacation season, experts have raised concern that the Covid-19 epidemic could spread rapidly in a short period of time.
“If Korea cannot afford to strengthen social distancing, the government should significantly increase the PCR test to help prevent further transmission of the disease,” said Kim Woo-joo, infectious diseases professor at Korea University Guro Hospital in Seoul. According to a tally by the Central Disease Control Headquarters, a total of 1,185,919 PCR tests were performed during this past week. It represents only one fourth of 4 million tests performed weekly in mid-March, when the Omicron wave reached its peak.