New COVID-19 cases in Korea have dropped below 50 for the first time in 49 days on Tuesday with 38 people testing positive. Although the number of cases skyrocketed to 441 after recording over 100 mid-August, the daily cases have remained under 100 for four days in a row. However, this is not the time to be complacent as traffic and density are expected to soar starting today due to Chuseok holidays. Although there will be fewer people traveling across the country to visit their family and relatives, it is expected that people will scramble to popular holiday destinations. It is estimated that 14 airports except for Incheon International Airport will handle 963,000 passengers during the holidays, which is 75 percent of passenger numbers for last year.
With the ongoing pandemic, Chuseok cannot be the same. Our ancestors who valued practices skipped the rituals when an infectious disease was spreading. It is probably best to avoid gatherings and travel and express gratitude “contact-free” over the phone this year. The elderly who are especially vulnerable should be more cautious. There were 102 deaths, 25 percent of cumulative deaths, from the second wave for the past one and a half months because many of the patients were elderly.
Face masks should be worn and social distancing practiced at outdoor spaces, while indoor spaces should be ventilated as often as possible. The government should pay close attention to crowded places such as rest areas so that the virus will not spread.
The world’s total coronavirus deaths have exceeded one million. The pandemic is still present all over the world except in China. Local outbreaks are always a possibility until a safe and effective vaccine is developed. It is regrettable that we cannot visit our families this year, but practicing social distancing during the holidays will bring us one step closer to meeting again next year.