The Olympics may be a “super evolutionary event” for Covid-19

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As for those Olympians who have tested positive, McCloskey said this does not constitute a malfunction of the system. Quite the opposite—each one represents a more contagious cut of the timeline. “What we saw is basically what we expected to see,” McCloskey told reporters at a press conference in Tokyo on July 19, a week before the opening ceremony. “If I thought all the tests we did were negative, I wouldn’t bother to do these tests.”

Hey, 91 of the approximately 15,000 contestants and tens of thousands of journalists and other Olympic staff were positive, not bad? For some disease experts and athlete advocates, the answer is: in fact, it’s terrible-because it’s about preparations and what might happen next.

At least that is Some scientists and experts have been saying. Hitoshi Oshitani, Virologist Developed Japan’s anti-Covid strategy, Tell era London He believes that it is impossible to hold a safe Olympics. “There are many countries that don’t have many cases, and some countries don’t have any variants,” Oshitani said era“We should not let the Olympics [an occasion] Spread the virus to these countries. In the United States and the United Kingdom, the risk of people being vaccinated is low. But most countries in the world do not have vaccines. “

McCloskey estimates that approximately 85% of people who come to Tokyo will be vaccinated. But only about 22% of Japanese are like this. This is one of the lowest ratios in all rich countries. Coupled with the relatively low number of cases in Japan, this means that most people do not yet have antibodies to the virus. They are what epidemiologists call “naive”. This means that, as a cliché, Japan may be a victim of its own success. “Obviously, hosting these Olympics is of high value,” said Samuel Scarpino, managing director of pathogen surveillance at the Rockefeller Foundation Pandemic Prevention Institute. “Because in a country where there is basically no vaccination and basically no immunity in the population, it is of course risky to gather people in a gathering environment.”

The asymptomatic, airborne transmission of Covid-19 means that testing must be very frequent, at least once a day, in order to detect cases before infecting others.Strict and successful disease control measures National Football League and National Basketball Association For example, use all typical sanitation and distancing measures, as well as core testing to track isolation programs. The NFL conducts reverse transcription PCR tests every day and provides players and staff with single-purpose electronic devices that record close contacts; cumulative 15 minutes or more is considered a higher risk. Over time, the NFL supplemented electronic devices with intensive face-to-face interviews to determine the nature of these contacts. (Masked? Indoors? During dinner?) “What the NBA does — or the women’s basketball I suggested last year — is to design and pull a bubble. Once you get involved, you won’t be out,” Shan’s population Said Anne Sparrow, professor of health sciences and policy. Sinai School of Medicine. “You can’t create a bubble at the Olympics. It just can’t be done on this scale.”

In early July, Sparrow and some other American researchers published an article Comment exist New England Journal of Medicine Many of the same concerns expressed by Oshitani were expressed. They went further, warning that the strategy proposed by McCloskey’s team was based on outdated information about the dynamics of the virus.

In turn, that article responded to criticism from the World Athletes Association, an international organization that cooperates with athletes’ unions around the world. The WPA argues that-although it has not received a response from the International Olympic Committee, it has had little effect-the rules believe that contact on a rugby field is the same as contact on a personal gymnastics or outdoor track. WPA representatives criticized the shared room situation and the script’s suggestion of occasionally opening windows for ventilation, which may actually be impractical in the scorching heat of Tokyo. The plan is also terrible: different types of masks and personal protective equipment are allowed, contact tracing using mobile apps instead of dedicated technologies, and a series of other not-so-good interventions that WPA representatives have said are just asking for trouble . Matthew Graham, WPA’s head of legal and player relations, said: “As far as Covid is concerned, there will never be zero risk, but more mitigation measures can definitely be taken.” “We, like the athletes we represent, hope this It can be done safely, but it shouldn’t save any money.”

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