Issue 720: North Korea’s COVID Mystery

From March 2020 to May 2022, while the world recorded more than 6 million deaths from the disease, the country did not record a single case. At least that’s what the Kim Jong Un regime said, whose statistics have not been verified by international organizations. However, since the announcement of the so-called “patient zero”, which was announced about 20 days ago, cases of “mystery fever” have been recorded in more than 10% of the 25 million North Koreans, and state communications assumed the epidemic won. The borders of dictatorship cannot be crossed. Still, the deaths will not exceed 70. Alvaro Pereira Jr., reporter for TV Globo, does the math: according to official data, the death rate will be 0.002%, a performance 65 times better than that of neighboring South Korea. , “a model in the world”. fight against the Covid”. In conversation with Renata Le Pretty, the journalist, who studied North Korea for 15 years and was one of the few Brazilians to report from the country, discusses why Kim Jong Un allegedly declared an emergency public health and total containment. , while rejecting any form of international aid, including from partner China. All this later claims, in a new development, that the epidemic has already been brought under control. Even if “no one can understand it well”, the most plausible hypotheses are “the fear of sabotage” or “the observation of weakness”. Alvaro also comments on the dangers for the inhabitants of the “real North Korea”, who live in precarious nutritional and sanitary conditions. Despite this, he says, “there is not the slightest possibility that this pandemic will destabilize the system.”

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Podcasts by: Mônica Mariotti, Isabel Seta, Tiago Aguiar, Lorena Lara, Gabriel de Campos, Luiz Felipe Silva, Thiago Kaczuroski, Gustavo Honório and Eto Osclighter. Presented by: Renata Le Jolie.

Jessica C. Bell