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It’s too early to ease “social distancing”
Written by Jack (kangmin) Lee | Published. 2020.06.06 15:39 | Count : 234

“It ain't over till it's over.”

Very popular saying by US baseball legend Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra is not only applied to sports, but also COVID-19. Seeing a new cluster of Coronavirus cases from a club in Itaewon, the Korean government has raised the virus alert to warn people of the “second wave of pandemic.” Park Won-soon, mayor of Seoul city, has shut Seoul’s bars and nightclubs in order to forbid any hosting of crowds. “Carelessness can lead to sudden widespread infections, and we can clearly see this happening in Itaewon right now.” Mr. Park said. Before the disaster struck Itaewon, South Korea had successfully displayed social distancing and won international praise for slowing down the spread of the virus. However, it looks like South Korea will be facing its second wave of COVID-19.

[Me standing next to the “Han River also requires Social distancing” bulletin.
Photo credit: Seungheon Lee]

Observing Itaewon’s case, I have wanted to check how other people are dealing with COVID-19. Visiting the Han River park near my house, I could easily find people running and walking without wearing any masks. Bringing tents and picnic baskets, groups of families even camped on open fields.

The running crews without masks were mostly in their 20s to mid-30s. Even though being young does not necessarily have a low chance of getting infected, some young runners looked carefree. “Now that fewer new infections are being reported, I want to get some fresh air, stretch my muscles and socialize with people who are coming back to the Han River.“ said Nam Hee Lee, a member of the running crew I met. He said, “Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, I have refrained from having offline meetings. But, I heard some experts say running outdoors is fine.” However, study shows that running outdoors in crowded places like the Han River park can increase the risk of catching the virus.

Of course, there were also a few runners with their masks on. Byung Joo Lim, another member of the running crew, said, ”I try to run in a single file with at least a 2-meter distance from my members. I am constantly moving while I am running, so I am not too worried about the virus. But some runners without masks still look dangerous to me, though.”

[Some people trying to camp in the Han River park. Photo credit: Seungheon Lee]

I moved to the lawn area, another part of the park. There were other groups of families and friends who were camping or enjoying early dinner. Some wore masks, but some without masks still did not seriously follow the park’s social distancing guidelines. “Since we are family and friends, I don’t think family camping will cause any significant harm. I understand going outside like this may look dangerous. Still, we all know each other’s conditions.” said a gentleman who wished to remain anonymous. Even though this man may be right, it is still essential to perform recommended social distancing as COVID-19 is an unpredictable disease that may spread to anyone.

In fact, multiple COVID-19 infections confirmed at Coupang and Market Kurly logistics centers show that the fight against the virus may last longer than expected. Concerns are mounting over the possibility of additional infections in the e-commerce industries. As of May 27, the number of confirmed infections at Coupang’s logistics center in Bucheon was at least 63. As for Market Kurly, infections have also been confirmed at its logistics center located in Jangji-dong, Seoul. Since early-morning food delivery services are non-face-to-face, the possibility of person-to-person infection may be low. However, more customers can and will express concerns over the possibility of infection as droplets may remain on parcel boxes.

We are still in the middle of an unprecedented situation, so it will be crucial for us to persistently follow social distancing with more tenacity to overcome this pandemic. It’s too early to be eased. COVID-19 is not over until it’s over.






Jack (kangmin) Lee
9th grade
Seoul International School

Jack (kangmin) Lee  student_reporter@dherald.com

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