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The New National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan on June 3. Photo: Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images

10,000 volunteers working to organize the Tokyo Olympics next month have quit, Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee, told reporters Wednesday, the according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: The games have been under pressure to cancel amid low vaccination rates and a surge of active COVID-19 cases in Japan. Scientists have warned that "canceling the games may be the safest option" and a recent poll by Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper found 83% of voters wanted the games to be postponed or canceled.

Driving the news: Muto told reporters there is "no doubt" that volunteers left because they were worried about contracting the coronavirus, although others cited personal reasons for quitting.

  • There are still roughly 70,000 volunteers assisting with the games, which Muto said would not affect operations.

What they're saying: “I expect the organizing committee to take thorough anti infection measures for volunteers, and they need to respond carefully to volunteers as well as Japanese people in regards to concrete infection prevention measures," chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato said, per the Times.

  • "We cannot postpone again," Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, said in an interview published Thursday in Japan's Nikkan Sports newspaper.

Go deeper

Sep 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Former FDA chief: U.S. has to continue to "chip away" at new vaccinations

Screenshot: Axios

The U.S. will have to find new ways to get unvaccinated Americans inoculated against the coronavirus to curb the pandemic, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said during an Axios virtual event on Friday.

Why it matters: President Biden announced several efforts to boost new vaccinations, including requiring more than 80 million Americans working in the private sector to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or produce a negative test result at least once a week.

Updated 16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas — Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. Economy: Report: World's 10 richest men doubled wealth during pandemicAmerica's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  7. Variant tracker

Court reinstates DeSantis' mask mandate ban in Florida schools

Florida Governor DeSantis holds a news conference at the Florida Department of Health office in Viera, Florida. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The First District Court of Appeal on Friday granted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) approval to uphold an order banning mask mandates in schools, per court documents filed Friday.

Why it matters: The move reverses a decision from earlier this week that paused the state's ability to enforce a ban on strict mask mandates in schools. The state will be able to resume punishing school districts that enforce mandates, which up until this point has included withholding funds from schools.