People in 20s make up largest portion of COVID-19 cases in South Korea
Updated: 2020-03-27 07:14:52 KST
One out of four people infected with the coronavirus in South Korea are in their 20s.
As of Thursday, some 2500 people in this age group have been infected, accounting for 27% of the total cases.
People in their 20s accounted for almost 40% of the cases related to the Shincheonji religious group, which is linked to about half the cases in the country. But even after excluding mass infections, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the infection rate among those in their 20s is still high.
"Meanwhile, experts also say that young people being comparatively more socially active could be another factor behind the high rate of infection.
Here in the Hongdae area of Seoul, the streets have still been packed with people in their 20s despite the ongoing outbreak."
Active lifestyles and going to places where there's close contact with others can increase the chances of getting infected.
"PC rooms and singing rooms where young people tend to visit often are small and confined. Talking in such places can increase chances of droplet transmission into the respiratory system."
Health authorities have urged young people to keep up their 'social distancing'.
There are worries that young people think they're 'immune' to the disease and so aren't being cautious enough.
"I don't fear coronavirus. I think I have little chance of getting infected. So I go out at night without wearing a mask, which is hard to get hold of these days."
One expert says this comes from a more individualistic attitude among young people.
"Baby boomers and the generations before them have experienced nationalism while growing up and were supportive in developing the country. But Millennials pursue individual values and are not comfortable with top-down orders from the authorities."
However, the role of the youngsters is essential in combating the virus.
"Young or old, everybody can get the virus. But while young people are less likely to be critical, they can infect family members and play a big part in lowering the infection rate in the whole community."
A shift in perspective is needed.
Rather than fearing that they can be the victim of the virus, young people are encouraged to think of themselves as someone who could infect others
Choi Jeong-yoon, Arirang News.