Living in Coronavirus Epicenter in South Korea (Gyeongbuk/Daegu)On March 14, 2020 by Raul Dinwiddie
(At work) (Apartment building notice board) Hey it’s me, Abby P! What up, my p-ple! First off, yes I changed my hairstyle again since my first initial short haircut And you’re gonna see it change back and forth with even my long hair in some of my upcoming videos Because I filmed a lot of things I just haven’t edited and uploaded them yet So just to give you a heads up on that My Philippines travel vlogs and other videos will be coming up after this one Of course, I wanted to prioritize this one first, given the current situation So I live in Gyeongbuk which is the major region that’s been affected by the coronavirus here in S. Korea And then Daegu is the big city here in this region, that is an hour away from where I live So it was pretty scary when the virus initially started spreading really rampantly So in this video we’re gonna go over the facts about the virus here in Korea and how it’s affected daily life And then talk about my own personal experiences And then close up the video with my thoughts on the whole situation Okay so first we’re gonna go over some numbers And keep in mind that numbers do change very quickly So it’s important to note the date that I’m filming this video which is on March 8, 2020 When I upload this video it’ll probably be a day or two after so the numbers will change after I post this video Very, very likely they will change But as of now, there are 7,134 cases of coronavirus here in South Korea And in this video we’re focusing on my region which is the Gyeongbuk and Daegu region And if you see that, there’s 5,738 cases of the virus in Daegu And then 1,081 cases in my region Gyeongbuk Okay now take a look at Seoul, the capital of South Korea As you know, Seoul is the biggest city in Korea and the most populated, but in only has 120 cases of the virus So that puts into perspective how serious it’s become here in my region So a few weeks back, I would say like in the beginning of February, I felt like The situation was fine, it was under control We had cases of the virus in S. Korea but it was seemingly under control But I’d say probably around… when was that? It was like February 21st, 22nd, 23rd… that weekend That’s when it really started spreading really rapidly, especially in Daegu and Gyeongbuk And at that time like, people were scared yo I was even starting to freak out a little bit There were already coronavirus warnings and people taking precautions and everything Even before like February when I was traveling in the Philippines and in the U.S. I know some people were already kind of in that mindset But I was totally just ‘whatever’ about it, I didn’t really care When I was traveling around in the Philippines I was like ‘whatever’ But it was that weekend, that February 21st, 22nd, 23rd weekend where people just really started freaking out We were getting really frequent emergency alerts on our phone I got a ‘red alert’ email from the U.S. Embassy ‘Health alert: the Republic of Korea raises red alert for infectious disease’ When I first moved to Korea five years ago as a US citizen, I signed up for this mailing list Where the U.S. Embassy will send out emails of any major news or events to be aware of It was really blowing up People were stocking up, store shelves were being emptied The ‘panic buying’, the panic buying was very real Masks were being sold out You would see these massive lines of people trying to buy masks or things at the store And I usually order my groceries online because I don’t have a car and the nearest large market, Emart Is kind of a walk from my place So I usually get my groceries delivered to me Even the online delivery, there were no dates available for delivery which is so weird because Usually delivery is available the next day When I saw that I was like “whoa, this is serious.. what!” It’s crazy because especially being in Korea, things are delivered super fast So to see that whole week just blocked off, no available delivery dates, was just like “what is happening” The start of the school year was postponed which is the first time, I believe, that’s happened in history in Korea At least for the whole five years that I’ve been here, this has never happened School was supposed to start March 2nd, but they pushed it back to March 9th, a week later And then they pushed the back again, and then they pushed the back again So currently the new start date is on March 23rd but that could very well change again They could push it back even further to April There are no kids playing outside At my school there’s usually kids out playing soccer on the field or on the playground but I haven’t seen a child in weeks And then I also mentioned the emergency alerts that we get We have been getting those daily, and very frequently since the virus rapidly started spreading Those alerts will tell us if there’s any new cases in our area The whereabouts of each of those cases so you know exactly where they’ve been Daily reminders not to go out if possible, and if we do, to wear a mask, to wash our hands all the time So there’s that and then I also still get emails here and there from the U.S. Embassy And another thing that happened recently was The government implemented a system on when you can buy masks here in Korea, the face masks So that people aren’t, you know, hoarding them So the system is based on the last digit of your birth year So say your birth year ends in a ‘0’, 1990 Then you can only buy masks on a certain day And then Saturdays and Sundays there are no restrictions and anyone can buy masks I know in the U.S. wearing face masks isn’t a big thing there as it is here in Asia I’ve even seen articles and posts on Twitter that say ‘You don’t need to buy masks’ ‘You don’t need to wear a mask’ ‘Save the masks for medical workers’ Here in Asia, definitely in Korea, you should be wearing masks So if you’ve been following coronavirus news or news in Korea Then you’ll probably already know the reason why it spread so fast here And I’m not gonna go too much into that in this video But there are tons of articles and links that I can put in my description box to give you more info on Patient 31, ‘the super spreader’ and the whole Shincheonji cult and everything like that Take a look at that if you’d like So as far as my personal experiences in this current situation The couple times that I went to school The biggest difference in regards to the coronavirus was that they now have bottled hand soap in our bathrooms Which is the first time I’ve ever seen a bottled hand soap in a school bathroom I was like We had to wear masks So that was a requirement when we would go to work There’s even a little reminder in front of the teachers office But thankfully the school is closed We don’t have to go into school until the start of the school year So no students, no teachers But it also depends on certain schools too So maybe some schools will require teachers to come in for work I don’t know, it really depends I know a lot of private academies (hagwons) have shut down So it’s harder for those teachers because they don’t get money, they can’t get any income So it’s definitely hard times for a lot of people And a lot of business had to close or shut down As far as company workers, I’ve heard that some are working from home or working remotely So that they don’t have to physically go into the office Uh, what else? Hand sanitizers, I’ve noticed, are a lot more accessible and available They even have the dispensers now I saw some at the airport when I came back to Korea from my winter travel I actually have some of my own hand sanitizer now which is the first time that I’ve actually purchased like Legit hand sanitizer here In the five years that I’ve been here in Korea These are actually gifts from my friend Angela so thank you, Angela! In the states, we were so used to having those little bottles of hand sanitizer It was very common to see them being sold like everywhere And then going back to the daily emergency alerts My phone is always on silent now just because the alerts are so frequent and they come in every single day And the sound is just very… you know the emergency alert sound on your phone? Yeah, I don’t like the sound of that Luna, my cat, gets really scared and stressed every time that sound comes on So I just keep my phone on silent now As for me, I’m okay, thankfully I haven’t been out at all Which is fine To be honest, I don’t really go out anyway The only times I’ve been out was to throw away my trash and to pick up some food at the nearby small mart I’ll watch other vloggers here in Korea that live in Seoul or elsewhere in some other region or city And they’re just like out and about, vlogging, living their life outside And I’m just like… But it’s understandable too because, again, if you remember the numbers I showed you in Seoul Compared to my region here I would say that a majority of people in this region, Gyeongbuk and Daegu Are definitely doing self quarantine, self-isolation, just staying home I know it’s been hard for a lot of students because they’ve been wanting to start school Because they’re bored as eff at home They wanna see their friends They’re sick of being at home with their parents and family probably They just want to get out of the house, you know When you’re that age, you just wanna go out and play But they can’t, you know, for their safety So it’s been totally fine for the introverts But I know the extroverts are probably struggling a little bit or going crazy because of this I’m very introverted, so I’m totally fine at home I got lots of things to do at home Whereas Hoon, my boyfriend, is extroverted so he gets antsy and he wants to be able to go outside Even do little things like run errands Just to interact with the outside world During that whole first week of the initial rapid spread, he had so many things that he wanted to do Or errands he needed to run But I was like, “Boy… NO “You are not gonna go outside… I don’t want you to go out because if you go out, you can expose yourself and when you come back home… You can expose the cats and me And our house” One of the days so I did let him go outside He went to the university because he had to pick something up He let me know his experience there which was interesting too There was a guy there checking if you had any symptoms of the virus before you could go in They gave Hoon a pump of hand sanitizer, sprayed him down with disinfectant So we’ve got this pandemic situation happening right now I’m also thinking about what’s happening right now in the U.S. and everyone panicking over there I agree that there is no need to panic But there’s also no need to act annoyed Because I see posts on Twitter and stuff, of course And Facebook You know, it’s okay for people to be scared too because it’s a new virus Yes it is important to be informed, understand the numbers in comparison to other things And know the science behind it But also, have some understanding towards people too If you tell someone who has a fear of flying on an airplane that it’s gonna be fine, they don’t need to panic The chances of you dying in a plane crash compared to a car crash is closer to zero But they’re still gonna be scared regardless So, in my opinion, it is best to just play it safe Which is what I’m doing, I’m staying at home all the time, taking the necessary precautions It’s also just a good time to reflect on us as a community, as a society It’s not about just keeping yourself safe, but also thinking about the safety of others And not putting other people at risk And then hopefully, if we all work together Eventually this situation can be something of the past that we all learn from As far as traveling to Korea or elsewhere Of course it is at your own risk If you are traveling to Korea, I would say I don’t even think you can There’s been travel bans now, I think (travel restrictions) Just be careful Wash your hands I’m pretty glad actually that I am in Korea during this coronavirus outbreak And I say this because the Korean health system is amazing Compared to the U.S. health system, which is trash, I’m sorry but the health system there…. All of my hospital/medical experiences here in Korea have always been super easy, super convenient Hassle-free, efficient, I don’t have to pay ridiculous amounts of money And another thing to keep in mind too is, the reason why the amount of positive cases are high in Korea Is because hella people are getting tested Because it’s free, it’s easy They even have freaking drive-thrus They have coronavirus check drive-thrus here in Korea So even if you’re not showing all the symptoms or you just want to get checked You can do that for free So it’s nice to know that the government and the country here is taking it very seriously And working really hard to put the situation under control If you’d like to see more videos or information about how Korea is handling the coronavirus I will put all those links down below in my description box It’s amazing and I feel like the US and a lot of other countries can learn from Korea So please, stay safe, everyone Stay healthy Remember, “health is wealth” Please like this video and subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already I’ll be posting another video I guess like a “part 2” on how I’ve been living What I’ve been doing during this self-quarantine, self-isolation period Thank you! See you in the next one!