Tokyo Sees 6 Month High In COVID Cases One Week Before Olympics

Harry Wilmerding 

Tokyo saw its highest number of coronavirus cases in six months on Thursday, just eight days before the Summer Olympics, the Associated Press reported.

Tokyo saw cases climb to 1,308 on Thursday from Wednesday’s 1,149, its highest number since 1,485 cases were recorded on Jan. 21, according to Tokyo’s government coronavirus Tracker.

The spike in cases and hospitalizations were mostly among people in their 50s and younger unvaccinated, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said, according to the AP. “We need to stay alert,” Koike said.

He encouraged people to minimize public gatherings, and to continue to use anti-infection measures to “overcome this very difficult situation,” according to the AP. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency Monday as coronavirus cases have steadily increased over the last month.

The state of emergency bans all spectators from the games as well as restricts restaurants and bars from serving alcohol through the Olympics, according to the AP.

There have already been coronavirus cases reported among Olympic athletes, according to Reuters.

Eight staff members at the Brazilian Olympic team’s hotel tested positive for coronavirus on Monday, according to Reuters.

The employees worked at a hotel in Hamamatsu City, 150 miles southwest of Tokyo and all Brazilian team members and coaches have tested negative for coronavirus, according to the AP.

The Russian women’s rugby team were exposed to coronavirus after their masseur tested positive and the South African men’s rugby team were exposed on their flight to Tokyo, according to Reuters.

“To gain the understanding of our people, and also for the success of the Tokyo 2020 Games, it is absolutely necessary that all participants take appropriate actions and measures including counter measures against the pandemic,” Suga told International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach during a meeting on Wednesday in response to the spike in coronavirus cases, according to AP.

“We’d like to reaffirm all our commitment on the side of the Olympic community to do everything, that we do not bring any risk to the Japanese People,” Bach said in response to Suga, according to the AP.

About 85% of the athletes living in the Olympic Village will be fully vaccinated and almost 100% of IOC members were either vaccinated or already immune, Bach said according to the AP.

There will be roughly 11,000 athletes and thousands of other personnel arriving at Tokyo for the games, according to the AP.

Japan has been slow to roll out the vaccinations due to the supply chain of imported vaccines and only 19.7% of the population is immunized, according to the AP.

Japan has seen 828,000 cases of coronavirus and 15,000 deaths, according to the AP.

“These will be historic Olympic Games…for the way how the Japanese people overcame so many challenges in the last couple years,” Bach said after his meeting with Suga, according to the AP.

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.