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Archive for July 8, 2021

July 8, 2021 — Another preventable health disaster in the works?

Today, the news that Japan is imposing a state of emergency a mere two weeks before the start of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics is a development which calls into question much of what we know about the nature of sport as well as the execution of good public health policy.

You see, Japan is a country which should be light years ahead of most of the rest of the world when it comes to technology, wealth, and public health. Heck, part of Japanese culture is, believe it or not, the surgical mask. Wearing one on a subway or walking in public during cold and flu season is seen as an act of helping out their fellow citizens and the country at large.

There’s just one problem, however. During the current Coronavirus pandemic, Japan had only managed to inoculate 2.3 percent of its population as of May 21st. That percentage has grown somewhat, but it has not been enough to prevent the spread of the diseases across the islands of Japan in recent weeks.

Now, the thing about the Japanese spread in COVID cases is that the number of cases there, compared to the United States, is incredibly small. Currently, the American COVID death rate is about 225 per day. In Japan, a country a third of the size of the United States, the number of deaths per day is only about 20.

The principle, however, is that you’re going to have nearly 100,000 people from around the world coming into Tokyo, then leaving after a couple of months.

This could lead to athletes bringing COVID-19 back home, to countries which have had either very little exposure to the virus, or to countries which have not spent the money to inoculate their populations against a possible outbreak.

Stay tuned. This could become an extremely ugly situation.