What Japan's COVID-19 situation looks like on the cusp of Tokyo Olympics

In the latest blow to a delayed and beleaguered Tokyo Olympics, officials on Thursday said a state of emergency had been declared due to COVID-19 and spectators would not be allowed in venues to watch the games in the city’s new stadiums.

While international spectators had already been barred, the latest announcement bans locals hosting the games from attending the events in their city. The decision also means that organizers will likely lose much of the $800 million collected through ticket sales. Local opposition to holding the games was already high.

PHOTO: A near-empty underground train car travels through Tokyo, July 8, 2021, after a fouth state of emergency was announced for Tokyo due to an increase in coronavirus cases.

Many of Japan’s peers across the globe are easing coronavirus restrictions at a time when it is reinstating them. While data on cases and deaths indicate the world’s third-largest economy by gross domestic product has managed comparatively well over the course of the pandemic, Japan’s present vaccination rates lag far behind other developed nations as increased threats lurk from new variants.

With the opening ceremony now just two weeks away, here is how Japan and its capital city are faring with the coronavirus.

PHOTO: A woman cycles alongside a security fence surrounding the Olympic Stadium on July 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government on Thursday reported 896 new cases, and on Wednesday reported 920 new cases — a major jump from Tuesday’s tally of 593 new cases and Monday’s 342 new cases.

The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo — which has a population of 13.96 million — since the start of the pandemic is 179,252 and the number of deaths from the virus is 2,246. The data indicates Tokyo has fared relatively well so far compared to the devastation the virus wrought on major cities elsewhere. New York City, with a population of 8.33 million, has reported 957,148 cumulative cases and 33,444 deaths. London, with a population just shy of 9 million, has suffered 783,437 cumulative cases and 14,966 deaths.

PHOTO: A security guard directs traffic at a blocked on the road leading to Toyosu Ohashi Bridge after it was restricted to Olympic vehicles only, July 8, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

Meanwhile, London on Wednesday reported 3,314 new positive cases, according to its most-recent data. New York City on Wednesday had 452 new cases. ​

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga attributed the recent uptick in infections in Tokyo in part to the highly transmissible delta variant.

Japan

National data similarly shows Japan’s case count has comparatively remained low, but its lagging vaccination rates are hampering its pandemic recovery.

Japan has reported a total of 2,180 new cases over the past day, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. Its record high was 7,914 new cases in a single day on April 29. Some 15.16% of the population of Japan has been fully vaccinated.

The U.S., which has three times the population of Japan, reported 22,931 new cases over the past day, Johns Hopkins data indicates. The U.S. saw a record high of 300,462 new cases in a single day on Jan. 2. Meanwhile, 48.11% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

PHOTO: Pedestrians walk past at TV broadcasting a news conference by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga after he announced a state of emergency because of rising coronavirus infections, July 8, 2021, in Tokyo.

The U.K., which has a little over half the population of Japan, had 32,061 new cases over the past day. Its record high was 68,192 new cases in a single day on Jan. 8. Some 50.91% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins.

Meanwhile, data compiled by The New York Times indicates that the U.S. had an average of five cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days. The U.K.’s average is 41 per 100,000 people. Japan’s average is one case per 100,000 residents, according to the same data set.

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