Walter Gabriel, Epidemiologist at analytics company GlobalData, commented: “Japan is currently facing a difficult Covid-19 epidemiological transition. Between 30 April and 18 May 2021, the proportion of new Covid-19 infections from the delta variant in Japan rose from 1.3 per cent to 35 per cent, and a majority of new infections are attributed to either the alpha or delta variants.”
While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is aware of this issue, as evidenced by the release of the third and final Covid-19 playbooks in mid-June, the safety protocols may not be sufficient to prevent the spread of Covid-19, despite ensuring that athletes do not have close contact with the public.
Olympic Committee fails to address problem
Gabriel continued: “The IOC’s playbook fails to consider how exposure occurs and which participants are at heightened risk. The third revision has not made significant changes to said misunderstanding. It could reduce the effectiveness of the measures currently in place as athletes share several enclosed spaces, and Covid-19 screening may detect cases hours to days after someone becomes infectious.”