With the recent slowdown in the spread of new confirmed cases in Korea, health experts have predicted that the peak of this winter epidemic may come earlier than expected.

While the government had not made any specific predictions about the epidemic's peak this winter, many officials predicted that the peak would be between the end of December and January.

However, with the increase in the number of new confirmed slowing down, quarantine authorities decided to reduce the vaccination interval from 120 days to 90 days based on such expectations.

An expert even argued that the winter resurge already reached its peak this week and urged the government to speed up its booster vaccination.

"There are many uncertainties, but this week is judged to be the peak of the seventh epidemic," Professor Jung Jae-hun of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Gachon University College of Medicine wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday. "The number of severely ill patients is estimated to peak around 600 to 700."

Despite the prediction of an early pick of the seventh viral wave, quarantine officials have expressed concerns about the increasing number of severe cases and deaths.

According to health officials, the daily number of severe cases among hospitalized cases and deaths for the third week of November increased by 14.3 percent and 41.8 percent, respectively.

Also, 91.4 percent of severe cases and 94.3 percent of deaths came from those over 60.

The nationwide intensive care unit utilization rate during the third week of November was 32.1 percent, up 0.6 percentage points from the previous week, increasing for the fifth consecutive week.

The capacity utilization rate for semi-intensive care units was 47.2 percent nationwide.

On Thursday, Korea added 59,089 new Covid-19 infections, including 55 cases from abroad, bringing the total caseload to 26,784,142, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

The nation also reported 59 more Covid-19 deaths, raising the death toll to 30,223. The fatality rate stood at 0.11 percent. The number of critically ill patients came to 437, down 40 from the previous day, the KDCA said.

According to the KDCA, about 44.69 million among 52 million Koreans have been fully vaccinated. In addition, about 33.7 million people had received their first booster shots, and 7.58 million had their second booster shots.

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