Coronavirus Infections Spike to New Record

  • By Jung Seok-woo, Yang Seung-joo

    December 21, 2020 10:20

    Coronavirus infections reached a daily record of 1,097 early Sunday as more than 1,000 people tested positive for five days in a row.

    The accumulated number of patients crossed 50,000 that day, only 10 days after it surpassed 40,000, and deaths are expected to exceed 700 soon. Some 14.8 patients died on a daily average for five days since Dec. 15. About two dozen patients died overnight, bringing the total number of deaths to 698 as of Monday morning.

    Fewer than 40 hospital beds for seriously ill patients are available nationwide, and none in Seoul.

    A medical worker tests a driver for coronavirus at a drive-thru facility in Donghae, Gangwon Province on Sunday. /Yonhap

    The shortage of hospital beds is becoming more serious. As of Saturday, the number of hospital beds left for seriously ill patients stood at a mere 38 across the country, down 10 from a day earlier. There are only two left in Gyeonggi Province and one in Incheon.

    A man in his 60s in Seoul who tested positive Saturday died at home the same day while waiting for hospital admission, authorities said. Another man in his 60s who tested positive on Dec. 15 also died at home in Seoul three days later.

    On Monday morning the daily tally of coronavirus infections fell below 1,000 to 926 cases, but that was probably because fewer tests were conducted over the weekend.

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