The 71 Olympic Games-related Covid cases represent only a small percentage of the 1,180 new cases on average per day in Tokyo over the past week. But every politician has their limits, and Games organizers admit they can’t predict what will happen with the number of cases.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s problem is an October national election he is heading to with an approval rating of just 27%. “The situation should get worse before Suga unplugs the Games,” said Riley Walters, of the Japan Center at the Hudson Institute, who noted that “Covid deaths have also been very low in Japan with no signs of increasing “.
Irish bookmaker Paddy Power estimates the probability that the Games will be cut short at 17% and offers odds of 4/1.
Covid knocks out a sports, team or individual superstar
Many tennis stars have chosen to skip the Olympics rather than face the inconvenience of testing and isolation away from their families, including Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The biggest name to be knocked out to date via a positive Covid test is rising American tennis sensation Coco Gauff.
It’s not just a positive test that could be the problem: For an athlete caught avoiding Covid testers, “it’s like failing a doping test. You are considered guilty until your innocence is proven, ”said DeFrantz of the IOC. Athletes face a four-year ban if they miss three consecutive drug tests.
Indoor body contact sports that take place in the second week of the Games – such as wrestling, karate and judo – face the highest risk of cancellation. This is because of the higher Covid risk associated with these activities, and because a large Covid outbreak is more likely to be identified in the second week of the Games than the first, given the additional opportunities for the virus to spread over time.
Paralympic Games fall victim to Olympic disaster
Olympic misfires are more likely to have a ripple effect for the Paralympics, which are slated to start on August 24.
Part of the reason is that Olympic competitions have already started and it would likely take investigators some time to attribute a potential super-broadcast event to the Games. The Olympics also have a lot more money tied to them – in the form of sponsorship, TV deals, and free publicity that comes from advertising your city to a billion dollar global audience – which means that the organizers will hesitate to blow them up halfway. through. “It’s hard not to assume that the decision (to continue) was prompted by trade deals,” Howard Wells, founding managing director of UK Sport, told The Times of London.
Any decision to cancel the Games would be made jointly between the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the Japanese government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the International Paralympic Committee.
The Olympics become a super-propagator event – but not in Japan
Although there are strict rules for the entry of Olympians into Japan, it is up to each country of origin to set the rules for the return of their athletes. In other words, there is no standard system to monitor whether athletes and officials bring Covid home. In fact, athletes are required to leave Japan within 48 hours of completing their competition – potentially recreating, on a global scale, the kind of super-spreader rush that occurred in March 2020 when the then President Donald Trump urged Americans to return home before imposing travel restrictions. The bottom line: we won’t know for four to six weeks.