As North Korea digs its heels in to fight off their first bouts with COVID, the hermit kingdom is starting to fully realize how poor its medical care is. Kim Jong-un is slowly realizing just how far behind his nation has fallen, and is now in a race against time, famine, and sanctions to get through this new risk. Unfortunately for them, because of the sanctions and Kim’s unwillingness to meet inspectors, the US, and others halfway he is finding himself trapped.
With the death toll currently standing at 27, and 524,440 illnesses because of a rapid fever linked to COVID, they are at least reporting somewhat hopeful numbers. With the regime claiming 243,630 recovered and 280,810 remaining in quarantine, it shows that the tiny nation is at least giving the appearance of taking this very seriously. Given their already rather closed borders, when they even shut out China in 2020 the tiny nation began to worry. With no trade partners left, they have been forced to be self-reliant and it’s been increasingly difficult.
Kim described the country as being in “great turmoil” and they have taken “maximum preventative measures” according to a meeting he had with the ruling Workers’ Party. “The spread of the malignant epidemic is a great turmoil to fall on our country since the founding. But if we don’t lose focus in implementing epidemic policy and maintain strong organization power … we can more than overcome the crisis.” This message of hope and determination is not something many countries were feeling at the onset of the pandemic, but as research has shown, it is more like the flu and something that seems to be here to stay.
For North Korea though, it is ultimately more serious. The nation all but has no vaccinations, and incredibly poor resources for dealing with any medical emergency, especially a pandemic like this. Currently, analysts are projecting that they are only testing 1,400 people a week, meaning that many more may be dealing with the disease. Considering their ability to avoid COVID for two years, this sudden outbreak has many convinced that this is nothing more than pandering in attempts to get President Biden as well as the UN to budge on their nuclear demands.
Previous partners in trade and international relations China and Russia offered up vaccinations to North Korea. Kim declined these as well as an offer from the World Health Organization’s Covax scheme because this would require outside organizations to monitor the jabbings. When you consider their absent vaccinations for things like measles, mumps, and polio, it is a miracle that they haven’t already experienced these problems in the past.
Meanwhile, other nations that have been at least somewhat open to help are largely starting to recover. South Africa unfortunately is an exception to that rule. Last week the National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported 10,017 new cases a day. This marked the first time since January that they reported over 10,000 new daily infections. Officials there placed the blame for the surge on the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants. Given their previous problems with winter months before, it’s not surprising to see this spike.
Unlike either of these nations, the US is finally starting to come out of COVID problems. The months of people offering up different science that contrasted with the government’s science have ultimately proven to be the better answers. Despite this, many the leftists still cling to vaccines and masking as being the only answers that work, even after states like Florida eliminated vaccine and mask mandates only to see the number of cases plummet. As we continue to go through our own turmoil, we can only hope North Korea is finally ready to get on the right side and save its people.