Virus threatens attendance for Olympics
TOKYO, JAPAN (WWBT) - With just over two weeks remaining until the start of the Tokyo Olympics, an uptick in COVID-19 cases is threatening the ability for fans to attend any events at the games.
Tokyo is facing a two-month high in new coronavirus positives, nearly assuring that a new state of emergency will go into effect and last for the duration of the Olympics. The current state of emergency is set to expire this weekend, but a new one is expected to be declared within the coming days, one that could reportedly remain in place through August 22. The games conclude on August 8.
The latest development could lead to a ban on local fans. That decision on spectators is expected Friday when local organizers meet with the IOC and others. Fans from abroad were banned from attending months ago and, despite difficulties controlling the pandemic, organizers were set to allow venues to be filled to 50 percent capacity, though not exceeding 10,000 spectators.
Tokyo reported 920 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the most since May 13, when 1,010 positives were tallied.
The Olympics are pushing ahead against the advice of many medical professionals. The IOC gets almost 75% of its income from selling broadcast rights, and estimates suggest it would lose between $3 billion and $4 billion if the Olympics were cancelled.
Only 15% of Japanese citizens are fully vaccinated, compared to 47.4% in the United States.
The Olympics open on July 23.
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