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.
South Korea's new COVID-19 cases remained over the 5,000 mark for the second consecutive day on Sunday after hitting a record high on Saturday.
This spike coming as concerns rise about the spread of the omicron variant.
Omicron infections have already been confirmed in South Korea, but for now, at least, the number isn’t rising that quickly, especially compared to other countries.
However, while experts are cautioning that it’s too early to draw conclusions, some are asking whether this new strain might cause milder illness than its predecessors.
For more, we connect to Doctor Alice Tan, Internist at MizMedi Women’s Hospital in Seoul. Good morning, Doctor Tan.
A small study in Europe showed half of omicron patients had no symptoms and half had mild symptoms with no severe disease, hospitalization, or death.
It’s far from conclusive, but if the data is correct, should we hope omicron becomes the dominant strain?
Looking back at how previous COVID-19 variants have spread, can we say with any degree of certainty that omicron will become the dominant strain around the world?
As of now, do we have any idea if omicron is resistant to the COVID-19 vaccines we currently have? And even if that’s still unclear, do you think it’s better for people to get a booster shot sooner because of the emergence of omicron?
Finally, from today, South Korea is limiting private gatherings to six people in the capital area for a four week period. Most public facilities will be added to businesses requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test for entry. Do you think these steps will be effective in taming this surge?
Doctor Tan, as always, we are grateful for your insights and thanks for joining us.