Thursday was the 50-day marker until the start of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo — an Olympics that, if they do get underway as expected, will be like no other. Typically, the Olympics are covered by news orgs as a sporting affair first and foremost. Sports commentators and journalists fan out across the host city to cover the competitions. And there will be lots of that coverage when the games commence on July 23. But the bigger and more important story is the one related to public health.
Covid infections in Japan remain at stubbornly high levels — levels much higher than when the games were delayed last year. Japan has been off to a slow start vaccinating its citizens and its health care system is under stress. Asahi Shimbun, one of the country’s largest newspapers, reflected public sentiment late last month when it called for the games to be canceled.
But Japan has vowed to press ahead. And so, in just a matter of weeks, tens of thousands of athletes, coaches, staff, and members of the press will descend on Tokyo for the games.