Korean J Intern Med.  2020 Nov;35(6):1270-1278. 10.3904/kjim.2020.222.

What should we prepare for the next coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak? A survey on the opinions of infectious diseases specialists in South Korea

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Dong-A University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea
  • 4Department of Infectious Diseases, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea
  • 5Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Kangwon National University Hospital, Chuncheon, Korea
  • 6Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea
  • 7Division of Infectious Diseases, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

Abstract

Background/Aims
This study aimed to collect information on the opinions of Korean infectious disease (ID) experts on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and related issues in preparation for a future outbreak.
Methods
A survey was conducted over the course of 5 days (from April 21 to 25, 2020), targeting all adult ID specialists currently in the medical field in South Korea (n = 265). An online-based survey was forwarded via text message and e-mail. Only one response was accepted from each participant.
Results
Of these 265 ID specialists gotten to, 132 (49.8%) responded. The highest proportion of the respondents envisaged the current COVID-19 outbreak to end after December 2020 (47.7% for the domestic Korean outbreak and 70.5% for the global pandemic); moreover, 60.7% of them stated that a second nationwide wave is likely to occur between September and December 2020 in South Korea. N95 respirators were considered to be the most important item in hospitals in preparation for a second wave. The most important policy to be implemented at the national level was securing national hospitals designated for the treatment of ID (67.4%).
Conclusions
ID experts in South Korea believe that the COVID-19 pandemic may not be easily controlled and that a second nationwide wave is likely to occur in South Korea. Our results indicate that Korean ID specialists believe that a high level of preparation is needed in various aspects, including the procurement of personal protective equipment, to respond efficiently to a second outbreak.

Keyword

COVID-19; Communicable diseases; Korea
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