As Surgeon General Jerome Adams put it on Monday: the next two weeks will be America’s time window to see whether or not the COVID-19 pandemic will unfold like the panic-stricken Italy or the relatively stable South Korea, depending on how diligent people are about following guidelines.
In South Korea, as of this writing, the current death toll for COVID-19 stands at 66, which equals about 0.6% of those infected. Conversely, the death toll in Italy now tops 2,000 as the country’s healthcare system quickly becomes overwhelmed, with nurses and doctors having to make difficult decisions regarding which patients to whom they will administer care. Here’s why the pandemic unfolded so differently in the two countries, according to CNN: Though testing is known to effectively reduce the risk of transmission, many experts are beginning to also associate more widespread testing with the statistic of greatest concern — survival from the disease.
The connection seems straightforward. Consider two countries with large outbreaks.
In South Korea, the rate of testing has been quite high (3,692 tests per million people as of March 8), and its mortality among those infected quite low (about 0.6%, or 66 deaths, at last count).