Herd immunity in North Korea? Totalitarian regime simply banned both Covid and vaccines

FPI / September 7, 2022


Is it possible North Korea is correct in claiming victory over Covid by simply letting nature take its course?

North Koreans near a barbed-wire fence built on the border with China to prevent the spread of Covid into the North. / Asia Press

Primary source reports from average North Koreans living in primitive conditions indicate herd immunity has been achieved without vaccines, mask mandates and the punishing lockdown policies used by would-be socialist regimes in what was once the freewheeling West.

That said, North Koreans continue to live in what many regard as the most hellish totalitarian conditions on earth.

Interviews with North Koreans conducted by Asia Press indicate that residents of the secretive nation believe herd immunity is a result of virtually everyone having contracted the virus.

North Korea rejected millions of doses of AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines offered by the WHO-led COVAX program, a global Covid-19 vaccine distribution mechanism which requires transparent distribution and monitoring.

But herd immunity came at an enormous cost, according to Asia Press, which says it communicates with its reporting partners via Chinese cellphones smuggled into the North.

“The challenge North Koreans face now is the rebuilding of their lives. … The government’s adherence to a zero Covid policy – including the closure of the borders in January 2020, the dramatic downsizing of trade with China, and bans on movement and goods – led to economic paralysis and severe shortages of necessities,” Asia Press noted.

“North Korea’s shortage of medications means that many children and the elderly died, and many people fell into poverty after seeing large reductions in their incomes. There has also been a massive increase in people suffering from malnutrition. All in all, North Korea is facing a clear humanitarian crisis.”

All in all, par for the course north of the DMZ.

While Asia Press acknowledged that it doesn’t receive enough information from Pyongyang or other areas of the country to make firm conclusions about the Covid situation, testimony from its four reporting partners in the northern part of the country suggest that a massive rise in Covid cases in May led to what appears to be the country’s achievement of herd immunity.

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