COVID-19 Is Playing Havoc With The Tokyo Olympic Plan

COVID-19 remains a global pandemic.

The International Olympic Committee and the organizers of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics still plan a July 23rd opening but COVID-19 globally may derail their plans. The Tokyo region is in a partial lockdown until May 5th, which is only 11 weeks before the opening ceremony and that does not give Tokyo a lot of time to prepare for incoming athletes, coaches, and Olympic officials. But Tokyo may be the least of the IOC’s problems. While vaccine rollout in the United States seems to be going well, it is not the same case in many countries that would send athletes to Japan. Germany is facing a third wave of the virus and may have to lockdown. In Canada, Ontario is in a lockdown mode. While the United States seems to have had good results with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, there are some problems with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Globally, the Astra-Zeneca vaccine is becoming a major problem because of blood clot issues and China’s two vaccines which are being used in that country and being exported globally are not that effective.

Japan has not been able to vaccine its population against COVID-19. About one million people have gotten their first shot. That is less than one percent of the population. Japan is giving out vaccines to elderly people and that action may take until the end of June. There won’t be herd immunity in time for the Olympics. North Korea claims it will not go to Tokyo for the Games because of COVID-19. Europe is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile the International Olympic Committee is telling those connected to the Tokyo event to get a vaccine but a vaccine won’t be an Olympic requirement. Japan claims its Olympic team will wait for the vaccine.

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Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee celebrates after winning the women’s 100-meter butterfly at the Japan’s national championships at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Sunday, April 4, 2021. Ikee on Sunday qualified for the Tokyo Olympics just two years after the was diagnosed with leukemia. (Kyodo News via AP)