In this episode of the Foreign Influence Podcast, we shake things up a bit with Bill interviewing freelance science journalist Mark Zastrow about South Korea's response to the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus. The country has become an international model on how to contain the virus, and Bill talked to him about how South Korea has managed to crush the coronavirus curve. We find out:
• Once burned, twice shy - Asia's experience with SARS 1 and especially Korea's recent experience with a MERS outbreak (also a coronavirus) led South Korea to put the legal and technical infrastructure in place to fight a novel coronavirus.
• It involves an extensive use of already collected commercial data - like mobile phone location information and credit card transactions - to track precisely where infected people were. It does not involve a dedicated tracing app.
• Koreans are generally on board individually and as a society with doing what it takes to fight epidemics, but they don't like lockdowns anymore than anybody else.
Thanks for listening!
To read some of Mark's coverage of covid-19 outbreak, check out these links:
- How South Korea prevented a coronavirus disaster—and why the battle isn’t over
- Coronavirus contact-tracing apps: can they slow the spread of COVID-19?
- The Hacker Who Exposed South Korea's Deadly Epidemic
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Stay safe, practice social distancing, and be nice to one another!
Bill & Nikolaj