Special Message regarding COVID-19

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A message from the WHRDA President Grandmaster Taejoon Lee on behalf of Dojoonim and the WHRDA:

To all the Members of the World Hwa Rang Do® Association;

I hope you are well during these challenging times.

As you are all aware by now, the world is faced with a pandemic and we are all affected by it and we as a human race are all in it together.

The purpose of this email is to better inform our people so that we may become part of the solution and not the problem. In order to do so, we must be able to make sound choices with proper information without hysteria and panic. Truly this event will test us as humankind, but also for us as a Hwa Rang Do Family on whether we will live by our creed to be responsible and take good care of ourselves so that we can care for others.

We must not be in fear or worry, but be vigilant and cautious. I believe we are all aware that there is no cure for the Covid-19 virus, but as a group and as individuals we can make a conscious effort to limit the spread of this disease throughout our communities. I have watched and gathered as much information from credible health experts in this field and here are the facts and what we can do:

About the Covid-19 Virus:

- Covid-19 is one of the Corona Viruses which attacks the respiratory system. Some others include SARS and MERS and Covid19 is the 7th Corona Virus to be discovered.
- There is no cure or a vaccine for Covid-19
- Most people who get infected will recover on their own.
- People who have pre-existing health conditions are at risk, which can develop into pneumonia and respiratory failure
- Approximately 20% of people who get infected will need to be hospitalized
- Up until now the fatality rate varies as they are still collecting stats, but still remains low
- It mostly affects older people over 40 and depending on the health condition and age, the symptoms might vary
- Younger children seem to be affected less but will still carry the virus
- The symptoms do not appear until 2 to 14 days after infection, but one is contagious from the moment of infection with increasing severity of being contagious as the symptoms develop
- The Covid-19 virus is not airborne and is transmitted by person to person contact within approximately 6 feet through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes
- It is possible to get infected by touching surfaces or objects that has the virus then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not known to be the main cause of infection
- It is believed that the Covid-19 virus can live outside the body up to 12 hours
- The symptoms vary but in most cases sore throat, followed by fever, dry coughing, and difficulty breathing, respiratory problems, and fatigue

Things You Should Do and Don't Do:

- Practice good hygiene and wash your hands frequently with soap. Sanitizing gel is not effective unless it is at least 50% alcohol.
- It is recommended that one should self-check daily by of course checking to see if you have fever and also to try to hold your breath at least for 10 seconds and if you have difficulty without coughing, then you might be infected
- Once you have the symptoms, self-quarantine yourself immediately and contact a Covid-19 community hotline or services to report your condition to the proper agencies
- Do not go to the hospital immediately unless the symptoms become more severe as the hospitals are overloaded and need to address many more severe cases
- The face masks are not recommended as it does little to no good in protecting against the virus as you would need complete closure of any air entering into your respiratory system
- The face masks should be worn by people who are infected so you limit the respiratory droplets from exposure to others
- Try to avoid large gatherings and limit your contact with others
- Do eat healthy and get plenty rest to strengthen your immune system
- Do not panic and hoard food and other materials from markets. This is purely hysteria and completely nonsensical!!!

The Reality of Situation:

The most important things for us is to be CALM and not PANIC!!

To put things into perspective lets take a look at the flu or Influenza statistics since 2010 according to the CDC: (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html)Between 2010 and 2019 - 21,000,000 to 45,000,000 people in the United States alone were infected and had the symptoms of the flu annually. Out of those 12,000 to 61,000 deaths occurred annually. This is to just put things in perspective. However, the main cause for the current fear and hysteria is mainly due to the "unknown". Influenza has been around a long time and we also have vaccines for it but we know hardly anything about the Covid-19 virus. Both have similar symptoms and both can kill. However, the flu affects young children and infants whereas Covid-19 rarely does. This is a good article explaining all these points: https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/coronavirus-flu-comparison/

The Reality and Final Points to Remember:

There are many things to consider, but one thing is for certain, we must remain calm and think properly. Recently, there has been a crazy frenzy of hoarding food and toilet paper, and everything one can get their hands on, leaving market counters empty. This is completely irrational. This is not the end of the world and hoarding does nothing except putting immense pressures on the retailers, suppliers, and manufacturers as well as possible consumers wasting and throwing away due to overstocking of foods which will spoil and rot. This is also very selfish and not acting as a community. Surviving alone means nothing when there is not a functional society left to survive to. We must act collectively as a community to weather and survive through it together.

This means that we must act and live out our lives as normal as possible, yet being hyper alert, vigilant and to be as responsible as possible to limit the spread of the disease. In fact that's how we should always live, being mindful and responsible always, that is the Hwarang Way. However, to treat this and react to it emotionally and not intelligently as something that will bring apocalyptic end is precisely what it will do. In fact banning travel, closing schools, etc. is a bandaid to the problem and will slow the spread but the reality is that it will be almost impossible to contain this virus or any other viruses in our globalized society. One health experts has said that trying to stop this virus is like trying to stop the wind. The efforts under way for quarantine will not stop the virus, but it is to slow it down and contain it so that is can be manageable by the health systems in place. Furthermore, this is not the last of the viruses or of pandemics and it will always be around as human beings continue to expand our civilization into the wilderness.

All the measures we are taking brings about some sense of control and power over the fear of the unknown, but the reality and the true lesson to learn is that we should all accept the worst case scenario and move forward to live in a better, more mindful way of living than before. There are many things that will bring death and destruction, but we should not be afraid of it and allow fear to control us. Rather, as Hwarangdoist and Taesoodoists we should always be courageous and face our fears and challenges without panic and hysteria, seeking ways in which we can help and better others.

The Korea Trip 2020:

The Korea Trip this year was something that we have really looked forward to since our last trip in 2004. However, due to this unforeseen pandemic it seems most prudent to cancel and postpone our trip this year. We hope that we may reschedule in the near future.

Many of our schools and clubs worldwide are closed due to government mandate to stop the further spreading of this virus. Many countries are in a complete lockdown. We are working extremely hard to open online training including interactive classes very shortly so that we can continue to hone our swords and ourselves. During these times be vigilant and cautious but never panic, stay productive, be courteous and helpful to others, maintain your practice at home and review your material so you do not forget and be ready to restart your training at the dojang soon, and keep up your spirits!

On behalf of Dojoonim Supreme Grandmaster Dr. Joo Bang Lee, the Board Members, and the Masters Committee, we hope and pray for your safety and health, especially to our family members in the countries hit hardest by this pandemic. And, to the Italians we shout out Viva Italia!

We remain at your disposal and keep you in our prayers.

Hwarang forever with love and solidarity and may God be with us all!