Japanese officials raised the alarm on Thursday after Tokyo reported record-breaking cases of coronavirus for the third consecutive day. The Olympics are well underway.
Reporters were told by Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato that they have not seen an increase in the number of infections this severe.
He stated that the number of new cases was rising not only in Tokyo but all over the country.Tokyo reported 3,865 additional cases Thursday, an increase of 3,177 from Wednesday. This is the highest number since the pandemic started early last year.
Japan’s deaths and cases have remained lower than other countries. However, the Health Ministry reports that Japan’s seven-day average rolling average is increasing and currently stands at 28 per 100,000 people in Japan and 88 in Tokyo.According to Johns Hopkins University data, this compares with 18.5 in the United States and 48 in Britain, while it is 2.8 in India.
“While almost nothing is helping to slow the infections, there are many factors that can accelerate them,” said Dr Shigeru Omi, a top government medical adviser, noting the Olympics and summer vacation. “The biggest risk is the lack of a sense of crisis and without it, the infections will further expand and put medical systems under severe strain.”
Tokyo has been under its fourth state of emergency since July 12, ahead of the Olympics, which began last Friday despite widespread public opposition and concern that they Games could worsen the outbreak.People are still roaming the streets despite stay-at-home requests, making the measures largely ineffective at a time the more infectious delta strain is spreading, he said. “We have never seen the infections spread so rapidly.”Alarmed by the surge in Tokyo, the governors of three prefectures adjacent to the capital — Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama — said they plan to ask Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to place their areas under the state of emergency too.Tokyo officials said Thursday that two foreign Olympic athletes are currently hospitalized and 38 others are self-isolating at designated hotels in the city.
Gov Yuriko Koike urged the organizers to make sure not to burden Tokyo’s hospitals.Japan’s vaccine minister, Taro Kono, said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that there is no evidence of the coronavirus spreading from Olympic participants to the general public.
“I don’t think there have been any cases related to the Olympic Games. So we aren’t worried about that issue,” he said.
Koike said the medical system was under severe stress, and noted that experts have projected cases in Tokyo could exceed 4,500 a day by mid-August.Nationwide, Japan reported more than 9,500 confirmed cases, also a record, on Wednesday for a total of about 892,000, with about 15,000 deaths.Koike noted that young adults in their 30s or younger dominate recent cases and reminded them of following basic anti-virus measures including mask-wearing and avoiding having parties. “I would like young people to be aware that the delta strain is a very tough, dangerous enemy,” she said.
She also urged those below 64, who are largely unvaccinated, to get their shots as soon as their turn comes.As of Wednesday, 26.3% of the Japanese population has been fully vaccinated. The percentage of the elderly who are fully vaccinated is 70%, or 24.8 million people.Dr Norio Ohmagari, director of the Disease Control and Prevention Center, said Tokyo’s surge is “heading toward an explosive expansion we have never experienced before.”
Dr Masataka Inokuchi, another expert on the Tokyo metropolitan COVID-19 panel, said the rapid increase of patients is beginning to force hospitals to postpone scheduled surgical operations and reduce other treatment. Thousands of people who tested positive are now staying at home or designated hotels while waiting for hospital beds.