The Tokyo Games Will Be a Major Super Spreader Event

It’s not looking good for the 2020 Olympics.

The 2020 Olympic Games, already postponed a year, is scheduled to begin on Friday, July 23rd. The games, in Tokyo, have already been marred by athletes being banned (Sha”Carri Richardson), doping scandals, and a Ugandan athlete has gone missing. But the biggest crisis of all is the pandemic.

Tokyo has been experiencing a steep rise in COVID cases. In fact, the city was recently placed back into emergency status. The citizens of Tokyo have demanded that the games be canceled or at least postponed until the infection numbers decline. However, Japanese government officials and the Olympic Committee are hell-bent on having the games.

This attitude has already caused problems. The entire Australian Olympic team has been quarantined due to COVID. An American gymnast has been infected with the virus. Officials and staff members have been infected by the virus. Every day in the news, an increasing number of infections are being reported. The Tokyo Games is in serious danger of becoming a super spreader event.

A few weeks ago, Japanese government officials informed the world there would be no spectators at the games. This should have been a warning of what was to come in Tokyo.The only people allowed to attend the games would be the athletes, their coaches and support staff, and the media. Those at the games would undergo stringent COVID testing protocols on a regular basis.

Now, with infection rates rising and athletes going into quarantine, the calls are growing louder for the games to be canceled or postponed. It would make sense to do so. Why risk more infections? Is it stubborness or pride of the officials to allow the games to continue? It may be a combination of both. The Olympics are a year behind schedule and the Japanese have a culture steeped in the concepts of honor. If the games were cancelled or postponed, the Japanese may feel that they have let themselves and the world down. And they couldn’t have that dishonor on their country.

It is my hope that things in Tokyo get better — not worse. But the virus is not under anyone’s control. If proper safety measures are taken, there may not be any more infections. However, things are already not off to a good start. Tokyo officials must have safety protocols in place as more and more athletes arrive. The Olympic Games are important but not at the expense of people’s lives.

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Shirley Jones Luke

Shirley Jones Luke

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Shirley is a poet and writer. Ms. Luke enjoys reading, fashion and travel. She is working on a manuscript of her poems and an essay collection.