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Japan's COVID-19 cases rise 87% during first week of Olympics

By
Allen Cone
Athletes run in a men's 800-meter semifinal in front of empty seats at Olympic Stadium during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Sunday. The stadium's capacity is 60,102 but attendance was limited to athletes, media, volunteers, officials and dignateries. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI
Athletes run in a men's 800-meter semifinal in front of empty seats at Olympic Stadium during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Sunday. The stadium's capacity is 60,102 but attendance was limited to athletes, media, volunteers, officials and dignateries. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Halfway through the Summer Olympics in Japan, coronavirus cases are surging in the nation during a state of emergency though the outbreak is nowhere near as severe as other places as the world deal with a more contagious Delta variant.

Tokyo 2020 boss Toshiro Muto said at a news conference Sunday that the COVID-19 surge is not linked to the Games, which included 11,000 athletes representing 206 countries. The positivity rate is only 0.02% -- 72 out of around 350,000 tests through Friday, which includes participants and other stakeholders.

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On the 10th day of the Olympics, including the opening ceremonies, Japan announced five additional deaths and 10,177 cases, compared with four fatalities and 5,020 infections one week earlier. In one week Japan's total cases have risen 87% to 937,293, which is 33rd in the world. Deaths have gone up 68 down 24% from the previous week, to a total of 15,211, ranking 37th globally.

Japan has 7,344 infections per million compared with the world at 25,495, the United States at 107,311, Britain at 85,783 and Indonesia at 12,436. For fatalities, Japan is at 121 fatalities per million compared with the world at 543.5, the United States at 1,889, Britain at 1,899, Indonesia at 346.

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On Saturday, Japan set a national cases record with 12,341.

The nation's daily records are 148 deaths on May 7. Until recently the cases record was 7,568 on Jan. 7.

In Tokyo, where most of the events are taking place and a population of 12.5 million, 3,058 cases were reported Sunday compared with 1,763 seven days earlier and 1,008 two weeks ago. On Saturday, there were a record 4,058 infections.

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Worldwide, cases and deaths are each up 10%, according to Worldometers.info.

In Asia, deaths have climbed 25% over seven days with cases increasing 22%. There have been gains in deaths in Indonesia and Iran with India subsiding after being the top hotspot in the world.

One and a half years after the virus originated in Mainland China, the death toll has risen to 4,238,544 and cases are at 198,900,735 so far Sunday, according to tracking by Worldometers.info.

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The United States is the world leader in total deaths at 613,224 and cases at 35,002,148, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins. Brazil is second in fatalities with 556,834 and India third with 424,351. India is second in cases at 61,655,824 ahead of Brazil with 19,917,855.

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Japan has relatively low vaccination and testing rates.

The vaccination rate is 33.3% of the population with at least one vaccine dose, up 2 percentage points in a week and 27.6% totally vaccinated, nearly a gain of 4 percentage points.

The United States has administered at least one dose to 57.4% of its total population with Brazil at 49.8%. India's one-shot rate is 26.6. China doesn't report dose percentages but has enough for 58.5% of the world-high 1.5 billion people.

Worldwide, a total of 4.1 billion shots have been given in a population of 7.9 billion with a two-dose regimen required for most brands, according to tracking by Bloomberg.

Europe has administered 86 doses per 100 people, followed by North America at 84, South America at 61, Asia at 56, Oceania at 34 and Africa at 5, according to tracking by The New York Times.

In testing, Japan's rate is only 146,550 per million compared with the United States at 1.6 million per million.

All Olympic athletes and personnel are tested frequently.

A total of 259 Covid-19 cases have been linked to the Games, according to Olympic officials.

Safety protocols including requiring athletes to wear masks when they are not competing, including on the medal stand except for brief moments, are being used at the Olympics.

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Despite few spectators in the venues, mainly athletes, media and volunteers, at least 30 people suffered heat-related illnesses. On Sunday, the temperature was in the mid 90s in Japan with high humidity.

Tokyo and Okinawa are under a state of emergency until Aug. 22.

Though 78% of the residents oppose the games taking place, according to a poll by Ipsos Global Advisor, residents have been taking selfies at Olympic monuments, including the rings.

Asia leads the continents with 62,280,968 cases and fourth in deaths at 900,686 behind No. 1 Europe, No. 2 South America and No. 3 North America.

Three Asian nations are in the top 20 for most deaths. Besides India, Indonesia is 12th place with 95,723, moving up two spots in a week. Iran is 14th with 90,998, rising 34% in a week with 366 deaths as well as 32,511 cases Sunday, off the record 33,817 Wednesday.

Iran has vaccinated 9.3% of its population with at least one dose.

Indonesia's deaths spiked 28%, including 1,604 Sunday after a record 2,069 Tuesday. Cases are down 5% with 30,738 Sunday after a record 56,757 on July 25. Until mid-June, the most infections were 14,226 and deaths were 476 in January.

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Indonesia has inoculated only 17.8% of its population with at least one dose.

The nation's mobility restrictions, including the closure of stores, are scheduled to end Monday. The lockdown began July 10.

In India, coronavirus has been trending down from a world record of 4,529 deaths and world cases mark of 414,188.

In the past week, infections are up 6% and fatalities rose 11%.

On Sunday, India reported 41,331 cases and 541 fatalities. India's one-shot vaccination rate is 26.6% though the nation is a dominant manufacturer of vaccines worldwide.

Around 4 million people a day are being vaccinated with a goal of 8.8 million between August and December.

"There are huge problems of transparency in the vaccine policy, apart from logistical issues," Vandana Prasad, a community pediatrician and public health professional, told DW. "Huge swathes of the population both in rural and urban areas have trust issues. It is not going to be easy,"

The highly contagious Delta variant was first detected in India last October and has become the dominant strain worldwide.

The pandemic began in late 2019 in Mainland China, but the nation with the world's largest population of 1.5 billion, has reported only a few deaths in the past 12 months and stands in 68th at 4,636 behind Thailand with 4,990. China added 75 cases Sunday and had administered more than 1.7 billion doses, the most in the world and dwarfing India with more than 470 million and the United States with nearly 345 million, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins.

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South Korea has vaccinated 37.2% of its population. The nation has 2,098 deaths, including three more Sunday, a rise of 1,442 cases after a record 1,896 Wednesday.

Restrictions remain throughout South Korea.

Turkey is seventh in the world for cases at 5,747,935, including 20,890 Sunday, and 19th in deaths at 51,428, including 96 most recently.

Coronavirus continues to surge in Thailand with an increase of 26% in cases over the past week with 18,027 Sunday, one day after a record 18,912, and 30% deaths with 133 most recently for a total of 4,990.

Israel, which is considered part of Asia, has a death toll of 6,477 with 17 reported in a week and one Sunday. The nation has fully vaccinated 63.9% of its population and began administering a Pfizer booster for people older than 60 on Sunday.

Europe's deaths grew by 5% for a current total of 1,134,188 and cases declined by 13% at 51,584,667.

In Europe, four nations are in the top 10 for most deaths. Russia is sixth with 159,352, Britain seventh with 129,719, Italy eighth with 128,068 and France 10th with 111,885. Also, Germany is 13th with 92,172, Spain 15th with 81,486, Poland 16th with 75,261 and Ukraine 18th with 52,951.

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Cases dropped in Britain by 30% in one week with 24,470 reported Sunday. Deaths are up 17%, including 131 Tuesday, the most since March, with 65 most recently. Britain's records are 1,823 deaths and 67,803 cases, both in January.

The situation is concerning in Britain despite 70.1% of the population receiving at least one vaccine dose, including the first person in the world in December.

Elsewhere in Europe, Spain had vaccinated 68.5% with at least one dose, France 65.5%, Italy 63.5%, Germany 61.7%, Poland 48.2%, Russia 22.9 and Ukraine 13.2%.

Russia reported 789 deaths Sunday after a record 799 late last month. Cases were 22,804 compared with the record 29,935 in December.

Also most recently: Italy 5, France18, Germany one, Ukraine six, Poland two (Saturday). Spain doesn't release data on the weekend.

The German government is planning booster shots for vulnerable people and expand availability for youths from 12 to 17.

European nations have been ending lockdowns but people in some countries must show proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test to access restaurants, bars, shopping malls and public transportation. France has this rule and Italy on Friday will introduce a similar mandate.

The European Union launched the vaccine certificate, which allows for free movement of travelers between its countries though each nation can implement restrictions.

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"This is not your usual Europe summer trip where you can just hop between countries carefree without preparation and planning," said Adrian Kelsey, a market research analyst from New York, told The Wall Street Journal. He went to Greece last month with a group of friends to celebrate his 40th birthday.

U.S. and European travelers who have been fully vaccinated will be allowed to visit England without needing to quarantine starting Monday.

The United States is continuing travel restrictions to Europe.

Also, the United States has extended its nonessential travel ban with Canada and Mexico to Aug. 21. It began one year ago in March. Three weeks ago, Canada announced it was reopening to vaccinated Americans.

In North America, cases and deaths surged 21%, fueled by spikes in the United States.

The United States posted a 494,254 gain in cases, or 24% and deaths rose 14% at 2,176, according to Worldometers.

The continent's totals are 941,060 deaths and 42,627,741 cases.

Mexico's deaths are up 25%, with 450 Saturday and fourth in the world at 240,906. Deaths are way down in Mexico from a one-day record of 1,803. The nation's cases are up 22%, ranking 16th in cases at 2,848,252 with 18,809 most recently.

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Canada's cases increased 61% in one week and deaths rose 10%. Canada's deaths record is 257 on Dec. 29 with a total of 26,600 in 26th, including two Saturday. Cases reported were 279, down from the record of 11,383 on Jan. 3.

Mexico's vaccination rate is 36%, though it was the first Latin American nation to begin vaccinating people. And Canada has risen to 71.3% and leading the United States by 14 percentage points after lagging by several points for months.

Mexico's Caribbean, which includes Cozumel and Cancun, has had a surge in cases with restaurant capacity outside hotels capped at 50. Everyone is required to wear a mask in public and practice social distancing.

But proof of vaccination or a negative test are not required, according to the Quintana Roo Tourism Board as reported by Travel Pulse.

South America has four nations in the top 20 for most deaths. Besides Brazil, Peru is fifth with 196,438, Colombia ninth with 120,998 and Argentina 11th with 105,772.

Overall, South America has 1,091,071 deaths, with a decrease of 10% in one week, and 35,578,958 cases, with a drop of 6% over seven days.

Brazil's fatalities decreased 11% with 925 Saturday and 449 Sunday and cases are up 0.2% with 20,503 most recently. The nation set a cases record of 114,139 cases in June and 4,211 fatalities in January.

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Chile has the highest vaccination rate on the continent at 72.3% and is 20th in deaths worldwide with 35,528 total and 82 Saturday and 80 Sunday, with Argentina 55.6%, Colombia at 33.8% and Peru 24%.

On Sunday, Colombia reported 275 deaths, Argentina added 51 and Peru gained 85.

The Pan American Health Organization said the situation is dire in Latin America and the Caribbean with a disruption of immunization of children, and healthcare of expectant mothers and people with chronic conditions.

"We therefore urge countries to ensure their COVID-19 responses do not leave other essential health services, like routine immunizations, behind," Dr. Carissa Etienne, director of the organization, which is part of the W.H.O. said at her weekly press briefing. "These services are not optional."

She added: "Soon, COVID-19 will not be the only health crisis demanding countries' attention."

Oceania, with only 42.3 million people, has 1,540 deaths with a decrease of 39%, or 65 in one week, and cases are 106,043, up 7,578 to 25%.

New Zealand's deaths remain at 26 with the last one reported on Feb. 16 and Australia's toll increased to 924, with none reported Sunday and six in a week.

New Zealand reported three cases Sunday, tallying 11 in one week, for a total of 2,873, and Australia was up 254 Sunday and 1,467 in one week, or 40%, for 34,381.

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Australia has vaccinated 30.6% of its population. New Zealand has administered first doses to 21.5% of its population.

In Sydney, troops have been deployed to enforce a lockdown, which is in place until Aug. 28. It began five weeks ago with 210 infections Saturday with the biggest population in Australia.

On Saturday, the third-largest city, Brisbane, entered a three-day lockdown, along with other parts of Queensland.

Victoria, which includes Melbourne, the second-most populous city, ended a five-day lockdown Tuesday.

The outbreak also has been surging in Fiji with 241 total deaths, a rise of 62 in the past seven days, and four by May 3. Deaths increased by two Sunday. Cases have climbed from 121 on May 3 to 30,413, including 632 most recently. Fiji has 903,457 residents.

"It's devastating seeing the scenes at the hospital," Maryann Lockington, a Suva resident told Al Jazeera. "It's so foreign and unimaginable to expect the hospital and medical areas to look the way they do."

Its vaccination rate is 50.3%.

In Africa, nearly four million doses of vaccines from the United Nations-partnered COVAX initiative arrived in a week, compared with just 245,000 for all of June.

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"We are beginning to see positive signs as vaccine deliveries to Africa are picking up pace after nearly coming to a halt," Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization regional director for Africa, said last week at news conference.

"Together we can begin to turn the tide against this untold human tragedy",

South Africa has vaccinated just 10.4% of its population with at least one shot.

South Africa's 79,349 new weekly cases accounted for 29% of the continent's 274,093 new total. The nation in one week decreased by 6% with the continent gaining 14%.

Deaths are down 17% in South Africa in one week. South Africa is in 17th place with 72,191 deaths, including 178 Saturday. And cases rose 8,730.

Africa's totals are 171,236 deaths and 6,797,155 cases.

Tunisia has the second-most deaths with 19,858, with an increase of 172 Sunday, ahead of Egypt with 16,528.

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