I wanted to touch on a serious topic today and one that I feel hits quite close to home. As many of you are already aware of the Corona Virus, I am personally living in the midst of this. China was greatly affected by this, the numbers have reached the tens of thousands so far. When I first arrived back to South Korea, the numbers were relatively small and in single digits. Unfortunately, the amount of cases have grown significantly by the day and we are reaching over 3,000. Right behind China, South Korea is ranked #2 with the most amount of cases reported.
Let me give you a picture of what my daily life has been like recently. I am awaken every morning, not by my alarm, but by the beginning of one of several text messages I will receive throughout the day. These text messages alert me to the newest cases and the locations. The tv is splattered with harrowing updates continually. When I leave my residence, I am amongst others who are all wearing face masks.
Wearing face masks in Korea, or Asia isn’t something new. Before this outbreak, many people wore them around public transportation or walking around in general. Now, I can say with certainty that everyone is wearing a mask, nearly 99% of people. Being seen without a mask, you will no doubt be judged and thought to be careless. I have read and heard on American news reports, that wearing a mask is unnecessary unless you have already contracted the virus. I find this to be absolutely ridiculous. People who don’t know they have the virus is potentially walking around and affecting others. This is an airborne respiratory virus and many Koreans are in close proximity to each other. How did anyone catch this in the first place, if masks weren’t necessary? Be safe, wear a mask.
Schools, universities and day care centers have been closed. Daegu, a city 3 hours south of me is virtually a ghost town. No one is meandering the once bustling streets and businesses have closed down.
There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. This is truly an epidemic. Instead of cases slowly dwindling down, the numbers are quickly growing every day.
I have heard that there has been a spike in racism towards Asians. This makes me angry and sad. Trust me, no one wanted this. Please have compassion, show love not hate.