North Korea has finally decided to give its residents the true story behind COVID-19 — or at least a fairy tale version that dictator Kim Jong Un decided would most advantageous for his brutal regime.
State run newspaper Pyongyang Times made the bizarre claim earlier today that tainted balloons, sent from neighboring South Korea, landed on North Korean territory and infected children who then spread the coronavirus to adults. The report claims the country has been investigating the source since earlier this year, when the virus spread rapidly within the country's isolated borders and killed an almost-certainly underreported number of civilians.
"It was discovered that an 18-year-old serviceman surnamed Kim and a five-year-old kindergartener surnamed Wi contacted strange things in the hills near the army barracks," the state narrative claims.
According to the Wall Street Journal, North Korea reported 4.7 million "fever" cases but only 73 deaths in May, a figure experts say is likely extremely low compared to reality.
It's actually pretty common for North Korean defectors to send balloons loaded with supplies and information back home while living in South Korea. Earlier this week, ABC actually reported that South Korean residents had sent COVID-19 medical supplies over the border via balloon.
Needless to say, though, it's vanishingly unlikely that anybody caught COVID that way, since the virus is now known to spread largely through particles hanging in the air in crowded spaces.
Of course, the North Korean leader isn't going to want his citizens to know the truth about the outside world, nevermind the one they're trapped inside. It's shockingly lazy and scientifically impossible to claim COVID spread because of balloons, but given Kim's ulterior motives, it's not the least bit surprising.
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