North Korea's fight against COVID-19 is impressive, according to North Korea. Approximately 3.3 million people have been diagnosed with fevers and only 69 have died.
If there are all coronavirus cases it would give a fatality rate 0.002%. This is something that no country, even the richest in the world, has managed to achieve against a disease that has claimed more than 6,000,000 lives.
Two weeks ago, the North acknowledged its first domestic COVID-19 epidemic. However, many people are skeptical of their claims. Experts believe the North's poverty should have resulted in far more deaths than was reported due to a lack vaccines, large numbers of people who are undernourished, and a dearth of facilities that can detect viruses quickly.
Because of North Korea's secrecy, outsiders are unlikely to confirm the scale of the epidemic. Some experts believe that North Korea is deliberately underreporting deaths to protect its leader Kim Jong Un. It is possible that it exaggerated the spread to increase control over its 26 million inhabitants.
Lee Yo Han, a South Korean professor at Ajou University Graduate School of Public Health, stated that "scientifically, their numbers can't be accepted." He also said that public data were likely to have been controlled by the authorities and intertwined with their political agendas.
It is possible that North Korea will soon declare victory over COVID-19. This could happen during a June meeting. All credit should go to Kim's leadership. As he faces severe economic problems due to border closures, U.N. sanctions, and his own mismanagement, observers believe that the 38-year-old ruler is in desperate need of more public support.
Choi Kang, president, Seoul's Asan Institute for Policy Studies, stated that "different public complaints have accumulated." Kim Jong Un has taken the initiative in anti-epidemic activities to demonstrate that his campaign is extremely successful and to strengthen his hold on power."
Prior to North Korea's May 12 admission of an omicron epidemic, it had held a widely disputable claim that it had had no domestic infections for over two years. Many wondered why the North finally announced the outbreak.
Initial views were that it was an attempt to exploit the outbreak for foreign humanitarian aid. Washington and Seoul could offer possible assistance to Pyongyang, which would allow for a resumption of long-stalled diplomacy regarding its nuclear program.
Kim called the outbreak "great upheaval" in his statement and launched what his propaganda team calls an all-out effort against it.
He has held numerous Politburo meetings to criticize government officials, inspected pharmacies in the early morning and mobilized troops for medicine delivery. On state TV, a health official discussed pandemic response, while state newspapers published articles about how to treat fever.
"Honey is an uncommon drink for North Koreans." They likely felt bad when their government asked them to drink honey tea," said Seo Jae-pyong, a North Korean defector-turned-activist in Seoul. "I have deep concerns about my elder brother who is now in North Korea.