May 18, 2021 - Sports

Japanese doctors urge Olympics to be canceled as COVID surges

Protesters in Tokyo call for the Olympic Games to be cancelled on May 17, 2021.

Protesters in Tokyo call for the Olympic Games to be canceled, May 17. Photo: Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association — a group of about 6,000 doctors — has called for the 2021 Olympic Games to be canceled due to an upsurge of COVID-19 cases in Japan.

Why it matters: Rising case numbers in Japan are a reminder that the pandemic is not over even as cases, hospitalizations and deaths fall in the United States.

  • The physicians' group said Japan's health system would not be able to accommodate the international teams' possible medical needs, per the Washington Post.

What they're saying: “We strongly request that the authorities convince the [International Olympic Committee] that holding the Olympics is difficult and obtain its decision to cancel the Games,” the association said in its statement, per the Post.

  • It added that Tokyo hospitals “have their hands full and have almost no spare capacity."

The big picture: The Tokyo Summer Games — presently 66 days away — were postponed last year due to the pandemic.

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