If COVID-19 were like the Black Death of the 14th century, hundreds of millions of people would have died by now. At that time, there were no diagnostic kits nor X-ray equipment. It was a time when even the existence of bacteria itself was unknown.
Yet, despite our advanced knowledge and modern technology since the plagues of the past, the number of COVID-19 deaths has exceeded 100,000 and continues to grow. Patients die because they can’t breathe. To date, there is no credible drug or vaccine. COVID-19 is showing itself to be so much more than a cold.
Korea's COVID-19 quarantine measures are drawing attention. The key to its success lies in preemptive pinpoint testing. As the diagnostic kit resources are a limited resource, the number of contacts that can be tested is reduced. Subjects cannot simply be selected by random sampling, something more sophisticated is required.
It was also very important to reduce the time required to check the test results. Confirmation results must be obtained quickly to reduce the number of people a potentially infected person may be in contact with.
Korean bio companies quickly released diagnostic kits and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved their emergency use. Only an hour is now enough time to confirm the test results.
It is surprising that even in the 21st century, the relatively simple strategies of wearing a mask, keeping social distancing, and washing hands are our best strategies against this disease. Certainly, the medical staff must be applauded for their heroic efforts struggling on the front lines of this health crisis, and we must also do our part to reduce their burden by complying with voluntary self-isolation measures.
We know very little about COVID-19. We can't be assured that the mortality rate will not end up being very high. If it continues its spread, a tragic situation may arise in which doctors must choose which patients are to be saved and which are to be let go. So, it is revealing itself to be a more dangerous disease than we thought. Fighting and winning COVID-19 requires continuing to do rapid testing and voluntary containment.