As the world’s athletes gather in Japan for the Summer Olympics, the country is experiencing a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections. Across the country, the number of cases has risen 20% last week, and 4,204 new infections were reported on Friday. While the 7-day average of infections per 100,000 remains relatively low at 3.3, so is the number of Delta variant cases which, while that’s good news at the moment, doesn’t bode well for the country. with increasing numbers if that is inevitably more transmissive it takes hold.
Only about 23% of Japan’s population has been fully vaccinated against Covid. In the United States, 49% of Americans are fully vaccinated. The island nation is more cautious about vaccines than many countries, especially those made abroad. The launch of the vaccine began recently, in mid-February, because officials there ordered national clinical trials in addition to Pfizer’s tests in other countries. That took months. And in those months, the country saw an increase, peaking at more than 8,000 new cases a day in early January.
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The graph showing the beginning of this new wave is similar to those of the previous three, although more pronounced. See the table below.
In Tokyo, the cases are also increasing. The 7-day average daily test positivity rate increased 42% between July 14 and July 20, according to figures of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. During that same period, Covid-related hospitalizations increased 18%.
“The infection can spread more rapidly and the number of confirmed cases can far exceed that of the third wave in 2 weeks if the Delta variant and others become much more dominant,” it read a declaration from the Tokyo authorities. He continues: “The rapid increase in confirmed cases makes it very possible for the health system to face a crisis.”
According to AP, about 100 of the 613 American athletes in Tokyo are not vaccinated. The IOC has reported that 13 athletes in Japan have tested positive. Among them are two Americans. The Tokyo Games end on August 8. A fourth wave in two weeks would put those American athletes, and support personnel, in the middle.