Coronavirus circumstances rise to a 6-month excessive per week earlier than the Tokyo Olympics
TOKYO – New coronavirus cases rose to 1,308 in Tokyo on Thursday, a six-month high as fears rise over a possible dramatic spike that could flood hospitals as the Olympics begin in eight days.
Tokyo is in the fourth state of emergency, which began on Monday and obliges restaurants and bars to close early and not to serve alcohol during the Olympics, which begin on July 23.
Thursday’s number is the highest since 1,485 on Jan. 21 when Japan was in an earlier state of emergency, and is also a jump from 1,149 on Wednesday.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike noted that the largest increase in serious cases and hospital admissions has been in people between the ages of 50 and younger, most of whom are unvaccinated. She expressed concern about the impact on the medical system as infections are driven by the more contagious Delta strain of the virus.
“We have to remain vigilant,” said Koike, urging people to minimize trips and follow basic infection control measures “to overcome this very difficult situation.”
New daily cases have been rising steadily since mid-June, and experts say they could hit several thousand during the games.
Japan’s slow adoption of vaccinations has improved dramatically since May as the government desperately presses to improve vaccination rates ahead of the Olympics, but slows down again due to shortages in imported vaccines. The latest government data shows that only 19.7% of the population are fully vaccinated.
Due to the state of emergency in Tokyo and fears of accelerating infections during the games, organizers decided last week to ban fans to most events, with the exception of a limited number in remote locations.
In total, there were about 828,000 confirmed cases and 15,000 deaths in Japan.
Dr. Masataka Inokuchi, a medical advisor to a government body in Tokyo, said Thursday he was concerned that younger people might be partying and celebrating because of the Olympics, which further accelerates infections.