Daily coronavirus infections in Tokyo surged to a record 2,848 cases, about double the number found a week earlier, just as the Japanese capital hosts tens of thousands for the Olympics.
Tuesday’s figure eclipses a previous peak of 2,520 set in January. Serious cases rose to 82 from 78 a day earlier, and the seven-day average of new infections rose to about 1,763, figures released by the city showed. Experts had earlier expressed fears that Tokyo infections could reach their worst-ever levels during the games, due to the spread of the delta variant.
A four-day weekend to celebrate the opening of the sports spectacle is also likely to have led to a backlog of testing, which may be reflected in the record case count. Only about a quarter of Japan’s population is fully vaccinated. Within the Olympics itself, new cases associated directly with the games fell to seven, including two athletes, one of them a tennis player from the Netherlands, organizers said.
The report brings to 155 the total number of Olympics-related cases confirmed through an extensive testing program being implemented to try to maintain safety during the unprecedented pandemic-era games.
Many Japanese had opposed the staging of the delayed Olympics, out of concern the gathering of athletes and others from around the world could make for a superspreader event. Japan has so far suffered far fewer deaths from the virus than other major industrialized nations and its borders remain largely closed to non-Olympics visitors.
Four of those connected with the games who tested positive were staying in the athletes’ village, and five of the total were non-residents of Japan, including the two athletes. No details were given of the nationality or sport of the second athlete. The two Japan residents were a Tokyo 2020 contractor and an employee of the organizers, the report said.
The Olympics, which opened on July 23, run through Aug. 8. Tokyo, which is under a state of emergency, recorded 1,387 cases on Tuesday last week.