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Photo Credit: Dan Kurtz - @MyKBO

They’re playing baseball games (without fans) in Korea

I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited after reading a tweet from Jon Heyman, but here we are. It might not be much, but Heyman’s report that baseball games are being played in Korea offers us a slight glimmer of hope.

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The Korean Baseball Organization, who, just like everybody else around the world, had its season postponed due to the COVID-19 breakout, has started to play intrasquad games. These games are just little exhibition matches between players on the same teams and they aren’t played in front of fans, but it’s a start.

What this should give us over in North America is something to aspire to. Korea has received praise for its COVID-19 strategy, as they rapidly tested everybody in order to identify and isolate the virus. As a result, Korea has managed to mitigate the spread of the virus to avoid reaching a situation akin to where Italy is now.

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Here’s some incredibly worthwhile reading on how Korea effectively handled this pandemic and what the rest of the world can learn.

“[South Korea’s] extensive testing is a very valuable tool to both control the virus and understand and measure the effectiveness of the responses that are taking place,” says Michael Mina, assistant professor at the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard University. “It’s allowed individuals to take matters into their own hands and make social distancing decisions on their own, both to protect those around them and to protect themselves from those who are infected around them.”

And here’s another one outlining the differences about how the U.S. and Korea have handled COVID-19.

The Korean public has been practicing social distancing in many ways before KCDC recommended it in March 1st. People may have been extra cautious because of their past experiences with several respiratory diseases, such as SARS in 2003.

Korea was one of the first countries to be affected by Covid-19 this year, which is unsurprising given the nation’s high rate of trade with China. Many business and personal meetings were cancelled, and schools and universities postponed a new semester and transitioned to remote learning. Ordinary citizens avoided crowded spaces, such as theaters and museums, while big weddings and funerals were postponed.

Of course, we as citizens don’t have any agency in the way in which our governments are handling the pandemic at the structural level nor do we have any control over the number of tests being administered. What we can control, though, is our own social distancing. Stay the fuck inside and we can help get this thing over with. That’s all we can do right now.

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Hopefully, there’s a way we can watch KBO games in the meantime.