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ON POINT: Expert's take on global COVID-19 situation
Updated: 2022-01-20 05:01:38 KST
Now it's time for On Point, where we speak to experts to delve deeper into the biggest news stories in the spotlight right now.
As we just reported, today, January 20th, marks exactly two years since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in South Korea - an anniversary no one wishes to mark, but an anniversary nonetheless.
COVID-19 cases in parts of Europe and the United States appear to be plateauing out - in other regions, the situation is getting worse.
Certain U.S. states are reporting fewer hospitalizations and cases, but the picture is quite different in other states.
Parts of Europe are still reporting record levels of infections, and hardline restrictions put in place in countries like France, Germany and the Netherlands have been met by large protests.
In Asia, citing the "current situation," the IOC now says only invited spectators who "strictly abide" by COVID-19 protocols will be allowed to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics.

For more at where we stand globally in regards to the pandemic, we are joined by Ben Cowling, Chair Professor of Epidemiology at The University of Hong Kong.

Professor, how governments vaccinate their citizens has become heated debate. The so-called vaccine passes have also proven controversial not only in Europe but also in South Korea. What's your view on the need and the efficiency of vaccine passes?

Since this pandemic began, life has been turned upside down for kids. This isn't entirely your specialty, but as a professor in the medical field, are you concerned the face masks, the lack of playtime and of normal social interactions is going to have a negative impact on their behavior as well as their cognitive and emotional development?

Recently, there seems to be some notion that everyone will eventually catch Omicron regardless of preventive measures. Three years in, do you also sense this pandemic fatigue? What would you say to people who feel this way?

Finally, the IOC now says they won't sell the public spectator tickets for the Beijing Olympics due to COVID. Was the right move? And despite claiming it has a handle on the virus, China sure seems jittery. Do you think China is covering up the real scale of the problem over there?

Professor Cowling, we appreciate you joining us and thanks as always for your insights.
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