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Corona Games

If you ask Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike in her office in Tokyo City Hall how things are going, she quickly turns into a pleasant conversational tone: "It's really great that our softball players won the gold medal! I used to play softball myself ", she says to Online Press. She was particularly enthusiastic about this competition. And the fact that many of the Japanese medals are won by female athletes pleases the most powerful woman in the country as well. This sets an important sign for gender equality in the country.

But the success of these Olympic Games is not only revealed through sport, explains Koike in the town hall, which is only a few minutes' walk away from the national stadium, where most of the competitions take place. A lot of things are also going right when it comes to security. The bubble, with which the Olympic participants are to be isolated from the outside world, keep tight. Yuriko Koike praises his own concept: "The number of infections is lower than expected."

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300 infections in the Olympic bladder

It is the positive representation of "Tokyo 2020", as the games are officially called even after the postponement due to the pandemic. And it's one that raises new questions. Athletes, supervisors and journalists who entered Japan in the course of the Olympic Games are only allowed to move between their accommodation and the sports facilities during the first 14 days of their stay, subject to strict distance rules. You are around 80 percent fully vaccinated. Nevertheless, there have been around 300 infections so far. If this is to be less than expected, as the governor says, how many diseases did you expect in the bladder?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the hosts have repeatedly emphasized that the safety of these games is "a top priority." However, since the strict rules and high vaccination rates of the Olympic participants cannot fully protect against infections, it is claimed that at least the Olympic bladder is impermeable. Toshirō Mutō, CEO of the Organizing Committee, put it this way on Monday: "I think we have managed to avoid a burden on the local health system as much as possible."   

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First 8,300 new infections, then 12,014

After all, the world's largest metropolitan region is not only experiencing sporting highlights these days. A new daily record was also recently set for new infections with the corona virus. A good 8,300 new infections were counted in Japan on Monday. On Tuesday it was 12,014. This week, the values   should continue to rise. The fourth wave of infections that all of Japan is currently going through is significantly higher than the previous three when measured by the numbers. Because only a third of the population is fully vaccinated, the contagion also creates a serious situation in hospitals, which have been operating at full capacity for months.

On Monday, Prime Minister Yoshihide indicated with the flower that the health system had collapsed: Only those who show severe symptoms of Covid-19 will be admitted to the hospital. "Rest at home will become the standard for other people," said Suga, "and we will put in place a system that will allow them to go to the hospital if their situation worsens." Otherwise, one relies on the drug Ronapreve from the Swiss manufacturer Roche, which has recently been approved for patients with mild and moderate symptoms.

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Projections show that new infections every day could exceed 10,000 in Tokyo alone by the end of August. And this despite the fact that the Japanese capital has remained in a state of emergency since spring, with one brief exception. With this, the metropolitan government can call on people to stay at home, ask restaurants and bars not to serve alcohol in the evening and only sell it to take away from eight o'clock. But the rules don't go much further. And with the more aggressive delta variant of the coronavirus, which is now shaping the infection process, it no longer seems to be enough for people to wear their masks in a disciplined manner.

The explosion in cases of infection began in Japan in parallel with the start of the Olympic Games . Is there a connection? Not if you listen to the officials. "There is no causal connection between the games and the infections in Japan," says Toshirō Mutō from the OC. In fact, no cases have been reported so far of someone from the bladder infecting someone outside. But this does not convince independent experts. "There is also an indirect effect," says Haruka Sakamoto, an expert on health systems at the University of Tokyo.

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Not all of them stay away from the games

By not canceling the Olympic Games, but taking place, the signal is sent to the population that they do not have to behave as carefully as the state of emergency requires. Governor Yuriko Koike rejects this argument. "We organize the games without spectators in the stadiums. That sends a very clear message. And people also accept it. Many watch the competitions at home in front of the television."

She is right about that. Many, but not all, of the largest metropolitan area in the world with 37 million inhabitants. When the Olympic triathlon took place last weekend, many Tokyo residents took the opportunity to sniff a bit of Olympic flair by the roadside. Stewards asked people to move on. But whenever a group of cyclists came rushing in, people stopped again, were amazed, and forgot the rules of distance. However, this was probably not dangerous, as the gatherings were mostly limited to short periods of time and took place in the open air.

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The risk of infection could have been higher in the crowded subways on the way to the competition site. And they are probably even higher in the numerous bars and restaurants whose operators do not want to adhere to the request to close and simply continue to operate until the early hours of the morning. One argument you hear from them is the low compensation payments. Another: "If the Olympic Games are allowed to take place, why shouldn't we also take place?"

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