Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome is alive in South Korea! Looks like this lurking deadly virus and I decided to arrive in Korea around the same time. MERS has a 40% fatality rate, which isn’t at all comforting, and some of the confirmed cases are in Cheonan where I live.
Consequently, very few students showed up to school yesterday and those that did all had on little masks with little cats or rabbits printed on them. My last class yesterday had three students, and the four of us were all slaphappy and giggly about the upcoming four day weekend. Felt like the day before Christmas break.
For today (Friday) and Monday, classes at the academy I teach at are CANCELLED. If you know what company I work for or know anything about South Korean hagwons, you will realize how rare and special the gem of a four day weekend is. So far, it’s been great! Shopping! Potential Beach trips! And let’s not forget the deluge of hand sanitizer!
I think it’s good that South Koreans are taking MERS so seriously. It’s comforting that everyone is so nervous about it and that the government is addressing the issue head on. I’d feel uneasy if people didn’t seem to care.
According to the National Geographic…
“MERS can cause fever, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, body aches, nausea and, in the most serious cases, pneumonia and kidney failure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its incubation period is usually 5 or 6 days, but people can be contagious for up to 14. The virus kills by causing respiratory or kidney failure, or septic shock, an infection that overwhelms the body’s defenses.”
Wish us luck here in Cheonan. Hopefully this virus will be contained.