Jul 27, 2021 - Sports

Tokyo hits record COVID-19 cases amid Olympic Games

People wearing face masks cross Shibuya crossing on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

People wearing face masks on July 27 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images

Tokyo's Metropolitan Government reported at least 2,848 COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, the Japanese city's highest case count since the pandemic began, Reuters reports.

The big picture: Rising coronavirus cases — largely driven by the highly contagious Delta variant — come as hundreds of athletes, staffers, officials and members of the media have descended on Olympic host city Tokyo for the year-delayed Games.

  • Many Japanese people opposed hosting the Olympics amid the pandemic. About 31% said Monday that the Games should be canceled or postponed again, per a July 23–25 Nikkei business daily survey.
  • At least 160 new COVID-19 cases were reportedly linked to the Games as of Tuesday, according to Tokyo 2020 organizers cited by CNN.

Driving the news: The number of severe COVID-19 cases in Tokyo roughly doubled on Monday, hitting 78.

  • As of Sunday, just 20.8% of Tokyo's 12,635 COVID-19 patients were able to obtain hospital treatment, per Reuters. The city's fourth state of emergency has been issued, which will run through at least the end of the Olympics.

What they're saying: "Refrain from going out unnecessarily, and I want you to watch the Olympics and Paralympics on TV," Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said after a meeting with ministers overseeing the coronavirus response.

  • "As we have seen a decline in the flow of the people, there is no such option," Suga said when asked whether it would be possible to cancel the Olympics at this point, per Reuters.
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