Once again, Japanese officials are scrambling to figure out how to host the Olympics during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2021 Olympics were supposed to happen in July 2020 but were delayed due to COVID-19. That plan is still on track, Wired reports, and the Japanese government is going to extreme lengths to host the games safely.
For instance, Japan has reserved about 500 million vaccine doses from AstraZeneca and Pfizer to give to athletes, staff, and even spectators.
“In order to protect the Japanese people, and out of respect for the Japanese people, the [International Olympic Committee] will undertake great effort so that as many as possible… Olympic participants and visitors will arrive here vaccinated if, by then, a vaccine is available,” IOC president Thomas Bach told Wired.
However, Bach added that athletes wouldn’t be required to vaccinate. On top of that, it may not be possible to distribute that many vaccines in time for the events, even if regulatory agencies approve one or more of the many experimental drugs in the research and development pipeline by then.
“It’s probable that by the time the Olympics and Paralympics roll around, there will only be a partial vaccination around the world,” Jonathan Finnoff, the chief medical officer of the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee, told The Wall Street Journal.
With vaccinations, contract tracing, and other measures, Japan is pulling out all the stops to try and keep the games on schedule. But given all of the challenges and risks, the Olympics may need to be delayed even further or cancelled altogether.
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READ MORE: How Japan is scrambling to save the Tokyo Olympics [Wired]
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