Korea has this disease in the headlines. People are running around scared, the government is being quiet about the finer details, while “netizens” run amok with rumors and falsehood that amplify the fear. A little different from the USA’s response to Ebola. In that case the government was very transparent about where the infected victims were, what was being done and why, while the media was the one trying to incite fear for ratings.
Korea is doing something similar now but the roles are reversed. The government is not saying where the victims are. Probably over fear of it harming a hospitals reputation and never getting patients again, Korean people are very reactionary about these things. You get a clown on TV that says “fan death” is real and suddenly the whole country builds automatic shut off timers into every single fan and refuse to leave fans on while sleeping. I’m off topic now, anyway, the government is being tight lipped, and I heard a story about hospitals trying to turn possible MERS cases away because they don’t want to deal with them because they are too dangerous, I assume. I don’t know if that is rumor but a Korean friend told me. Which goes back the original point, after the Sewol Ferry disaster nobody trusts anything the government says, news is distributed though facebook and instagram and likes and upvotes decide what truth and reality is. I’ve heard some things that can be proven false, being passed around like facts.
Bill Gates said a super virus is the one thing we should really be scared of. War and diseases have been historically been the biggest killers of humans. Large scale wars are not economically beneficial for anyone anymore, so we are left to focus on viruses. Korea has some of the most densely populated cities in the world. Some of the hardest working people, people that will go to work and school when they have severe fevers because that is what is expected of them, people that spit on the sidewalks, cough and sneeze without covering their mouths, people that hold hands and walk arm in arm with their friends, lax hygiene in general. It’s the perfect place for a virus to spread.
The netizens even set up a MERS map because they were unhappy with government reporting. I think it’s great they do this work, but the distrust of the government is at the point where if the government said the sky is blue people would call them liars.
I find it entertaining to watch the reaction as they close 700 schools in Seoul on Friday, and a planned closure on Monday. I don’t know what will happen Tuesday that will make this any different, but the government needs to act like they are doing something else people start shitting bricks. So I recieved a text this morning from the government telling me to wash my hands. Thanks guys. Overall I don’t fear MERS much, it has a pretty low fatality rate and even less so among healthy men in my age group.
Time to go prepare another 12 pounds of pork belly! I love this stuff.