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ON POINT: Expert's take on rising number of critically-ill COVID patients in S. Korea Updated: 2021-11-11 05:43:42 KST

Now it’s time for On Point, where we speak to experts to delve deeper into the biggest news stories in the spotlight right now.
Despite having a vaccination rate of close to 80 percent, South Korea is still enduring a fourth wave of COVID-19.
Making matters worse and placing even greater strain on health services is the sharp rise in the number of critically-ill patients.
On Wednesday, a record 460 people were recorded as seriously ill with COVID-19 in South Korea.
Korea is not the only country experiencing this as many European and other highly-vaccinated Asian countries are releasing data that shows the same is happening there as well.
For more, we are joined by Ben Cowling, Chair Professor of Epidemiology at The University of Hong Kong. Good morning.
Professor Cowling, we were told these vaccines would protect people from becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, so why are we seeing this sharp uptick in the number of critically ill, many of whom have had both shots?

People in South Korea are naturally concerned about the tremendous stress this is placing on an already over-burdened health system. To give us a clearer picture of how draining it is, can you explain the level of medical care required to treat someone who’s gravely ill with COVID-19?

Some experts say this resurgence might've been avoided if those in power took corresponding measures in the ealy stages of the pandemic. What's your stance on voices that think the WHO, the CDC and others fumbled the initial response?

The WHO came out this week and warned that we could be facing a global shortage of syringes. Considering it’s common knowledge that you need one needle per vaccine, why wasn’t the production of syringes also ramped up to the same degree as vaccines?

Professor Cowling, we are grateful for your insights and thank you for joining us.
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