J Prev Med Public Health.  2020 May;53(3):164-167. 10.3961/jpmph.20.088.

The Delay in Confirming COVID-19 Cases Linked to a Religious Group in Korea

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, Konyang University College of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea

Abstract


Objectives
As of March 3, 2020, the Shincheonji religious group accounted for the majority of Korean cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Nonetheless, the most likely cause of the broad spread of COVID-19 among members of the Shincheonji religious group remains largely unknown.
Methods
We obtained data of laboratory-confirmed cases related to the Shincheonji religious group from press releases by Korean public health authorities and news reports. We measured the period from the date of illness onset to the date of COVID-19 confirmation.
Results
We analysed data from 59 cases (median age, 30 years). The estimated median period between the date of symptom onset and the date of COVID-19 confirmation was 4 days (95% confidence interval, 1-12).
Conclusions
There was a delay in COVID-19 confirmation from the date of illness onset among the cases linked to the Shincheonji religious group. This delay likely contributed to the occurrence of many cases of COVID-19 in the group.

Keyword

Coronavirus; Transmission; Religious belief; Korea
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