September 16, 2020 10:06
The number of coronavirus-linked deaths in Korea has shot up this month, though in global comparison it remains extremely low.
According to the health authorities on Tuesday, 43 people with coronavirus infections have died over the last two weeks, almost twice as many as in August. Three out of 26 people who died since Sept. 9 had not been classified as serious cases but suddenly developed acute symptoms.
The main reason was an increase in elderly patients and infirm patients whose infections were traced to churches in the greater Seoul region who had to rely on respirators.
Among infections detected over the last two weeks, four out of 10 were over 60. As of midnight Tuesday, 158 patients were in critical or serious condition.
The cumulative number of deaths linked to the virus has now risen to 367, with the biggest number of fatalities over a two-week period was 83 deaths during March 17-30 traced to the Shincheonji sect in Daegu. Since then, the number fell to the single digits, only to surge again after late August.
A government health official said, "The number of patients over 60 is not declining, so we will see a continued number of patients in serious or critical condition."
But new infections have declined to fewer than 200 a day since Sept. 11, but the proportion of infections that cannot be traced keeps rising. Out of 2,209 infections detected in the two weeks leading up to Monday, the sources of 552 or 25 percent remain a mystery.
Korea reported another 113 new cases as of Wednesday morning, bringing to the cumulative total to 22,504.
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