Sign in

Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

South Korea

In Elemental. More on Medium.

How one nation keeps everyone safe and informed when cases rise

People shop in the Mangwon district on March 12, 2020, in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Woohae Cho/Stringer/Getty Images

A few weeks ago, a colleague came into my office and announced, “Damn, it looks like things are starting to get bad again.” He turned his phone toward me. It was opened to Worldometer’s Covid-19 tracking page. I scrolled down to select the country we live in: South Korea. “How many days has it been going up?” I asked. “It was 303 then 343 and 363 cases today. They’ve just increased the alert level to 1.5.”

That night, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home to pick up some extra food. If cases keep rising, I know…


Living as an expat in Korea as they embrace a new normal while my family back in America continues to suffer from an incompetent response

A photo of a sign that prohibits not wearing a face mask at a South Korean cafeteria.
A photo of a sign that prohibits not wearing a face mask at a South Korean cafeteria.
South Koreans wear protective masks and gloves to protect themselves against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) at a cafeteria on May 20, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Watching from abroad as Covid-19 eats its way across America feels like sitting through a poorly written dark comedy. Except, I am not witnessing an actor play the role of an egomaniacal leader who bumbles his way through mismanaging a made-up virus as thousands of nameless fake citizens of a fake country die. …


An appreciation for robust coronavirus testing, drive-thru clinics, and a strong national response

A photo of two Korean women wearing face masks at Jogyesa Temple in South Korea.
A photo of two Korean women wearing face masks at Jogyesa Temple in South Korea.
People wearing face masks walk under rows of lotus lanterns at Jogyesa Temple in Seoul on March 23, 2020. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images

It wasn’t long after the coronavirus outbreak started that expats in South Korea, like me, started fielding misinformed panic from friends and family back in the United States. This isn’t new for us. Every time something bad happens in South Korea, misinformation goes viral in America, and we get bombarded with worried messages.

In the wake of this outbreak, these worried messages quickly escalated. Families started pressuring expats to “get out while you can.” Their messages contained warnings, threats, and links to news articles. …

Elemental

Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store