Respiratory Illness on the Rise While COVID Infections Remain High

  • By Kim Kyung-eun

    April 20, 2023 13:19

    COVID infections remain above 10,000 in the Seoul metropolitan area alone while minor respiratory infections also surged.
    Korea reported 14,094 cases as of Thursday morning, a similar level to early February. But the fatality rate has now fallen to 0.06 percent, the lowest in 30 weeks. Doctors said repeat infections and the high rate of vaccination have produced effective antibodies among patients, which results in a milder course of the disease.
    But Jung Ji-won at Asan Medical Center said, "We need to remain cautious because infections among senior citizens are increasing."
    Meanwhile adenovirus, which causes respiratory tract infections, is spreading quickly among children and teens. The virus is highly infections and can be spread by sneezing or even touching an infected baby's diaper and water in swimming pools.
    Patients typically suffer from cold or flu-like symptoms, but some develop conjunctivitis or blood in their urine, while severe cases can develop into pneumonia. No special treatment is required, and most people recover after resting for two to five days.
    Seasonal flu cases are also rising. Although they usually peak in winter, the reopening of schools last month seems to have tripled infections compared to previous years as masks no longer need to be worn. Doctors recommend Tamiflu for severe cases.
    Respiratory illnesses have spiked since mask requirements were lifted, and after years of wearing masks, overall immunity levels against flu and common cold have weakened. Doctors recommend wearing masks and washing hands frequently, drinking plenty of water and refraining from excessive physical activities.
    A sign at Incheon International Airport warns of monkeypox on Wednesday. /News1
    Meanwhile, two more cases of monkeypox were reported in Korea on Wednesday, raising the total to 18. The recent infections seem to have been spread locally among people who did not travel abroad.

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