Viral Wedding Photo Highlights South Korean MERS Scare

Bride and groom making a toast with champagne
June is typically the most popular month for weddings to take place, with about 15% of couples choosing to tie the knot during this month. It’s no wonder that so many couples are willing to pay a little more, and choose a style more on the eclectic and bizarre side, in order to make their wedding stand out from the rest.

One couple in South Korea certainly snagged a wedding photo that will go down in the history books — although perhaps not for the best reason.

South Korea has recently gone through a Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak. The health scare has resulted in many people opting to wear surgical masks covering their nose and mouth, to try to prevent the spread of the virus. For one of their wedding photos, the couple posed with many of their guests — all of them wearing the surgical masks.

Although the photo was meant to be funny, it draws attention to the scary reality of MERS. Almost 100 people have been infected, and seven have died from the virus. The outbreak in South Korea is the largest one outside of Saudi Arabia, and has caused the closing of 2,000 schools and the quarantine of about 2,900 people.

The masks were given to the guests by the event planner as a message to the couple. They were meant to symbolize the couple living a healthy life together, not to spark more fear about MERS, and the couple is shocked by the attention the photo is getting.

Fear of the virus has affected numerous parts of Korean life. There has been a substantial decrease in attendance for mass events such as baseball games, and it has also forced churchgoers to bow rather than touch. Perhaps the worst result has been an entire village being quarantined.

Residents are encouraged to avoid contact with anyone who has had contact with the virus, though no substantial evidence supports that human-to-human contact is the primary transmitter.


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