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When and How Should We Start Our 'Gradual Return to Normal'? with Dr. Jung Ki-suck Updated: 2021-10-14 17:04:09 KST

So, although a drop from a week ago, South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases clocked in only a bit shy of 2-thousand - at 19-40.
Meanwhile, the country is ramping up its vaccination rate in a move to prepare for a gradual return to normal life.
The seemingly unending battle with the coronavirus and moves to open up and return to "normal" across the globe.
Let's talk about it with Dr. Jung Ki-suck, Professor of Medicine at the Hallym Sacred Heart Hospital.
Dr. Jung also previously served as the chief of KCDC.

Welcome to the show, Dr. Jung. It's great to see you.

We're expecting the nation's health authorities to announce new social distancing rules tomorrow ahead of the government's plan to get people's pandemic-hit lives back to normal on a gradual basis starting next month.
First of all, I'd like to talk about what's to come tomorrow.
While it's highly likely that the current distancing measures will stay in place for another two weeks, the KDCA said that there will be more benefits for those who have been fully vaccinated.
What kinds of benefits are we talking about?

What we're also seeing along with the rapid increase in vaccination rate is a rise in breakthrough cases. South Korea has also been reporting quite a significant number of breakthrough infections as of late. Is it still safe or wise to shift our goal to "living with Covid" at this point?
Nearly 2-thousand cases and most of them concentrated in the greater capital area.

In what way or form should this gradual transition to "living with Covid" look like?

Meanwhile, as of today, 61.6 percent of the South Korean population have been fully vaccinated while 78.3 percent have had at least one dose.
At the current rate vaccinations, South Korea will highly likely see 70-percent of the population fully vaccinated and perhaps in the near future that percentage will rise to 80 percent and beyond.
That means the long-waited so-called herd immunity target will be achieved. But what will this actually mean?

The nation's health authorities today said that once the country's vaccination rate reaches 85-percent, herd immunity would have been reached. Then, we'd be able to contain the spread of the Delta variant even without anti-virus measures such as wearing face masks or having curfews.
As a medical expert, what are your views on this?

But the coronavirus continues to mutate into new strains of Covid. The Delta may not be the worst variant yet. What do we do then?

Dr. Jung Ki-suck, Professor of Medicine at Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital many thanks for your insights and expertise. We appreciate it.

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