LET US SALUTE THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN FOR HOSTING THE 2020 OLYMPICS AND THE PARTICIPATING ATHLETES

1.Introduction

The world has been shattered by the Chinese COVID-19 virus. Many countries from Italy to India have suffered and are still suffering lock-downs for long periods of time. Furthermore, the global death toll has been horrendous. The death toll at the time of writing, stands at 4,133,309 million and the number of infected people is 192,244,382 million(https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/). Beyond these statistics, there is anecdotal evidence of increased mental health issues due to the lock-downs. The economic impact of the lock-downs is unmeasurable, but obviously substantial. And sadly, the virus is still not under control and not likely to be under control until substantial part of the global population is vaccinated.

Notwithstanding the 1974 Munich Olympics and the occasional boycotting by some countries of some Olympics, the Olympic Games have always brought the world together with hopes of peace, mutual respect and great joy. Against the background of COVID-19, the 2020 Olympics had to be deferred and it is being held this year, although the virus is not under control. But the people of Japan graciously hosting the 2020 Olympics in 2021 and the athletes are attending it despite the risk of a serious outbreak.

2. Japan and the COVID-19 virus

The Covid-19 virus is not under control in Japan. Currently Japan still has high daily infection rates (3,888 new cases on 18/7/2021) and sadly already had 15,060 deaths from the virus(https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/japan/). The vaccination rates were only around 8% at the end of June(ttps://www.nbcnews.com/news/olympics/ahead-tokyo-olympics-japan-vaccination-rate-far-mark-n1272523) and despite speeding it up in July, it is highly unlikely that they will be able the vaccinate the majority of the population. The usual protocols such as; no spectators at the sporting event, social distancing and mask wearing may protect the population to some extent, but the risk of infection with the arrival athletes from all over the world is likely to increase the threat of further spread of the virus. Despite this increased risk the Japanese people, not without trepidation and some protest, have accepted the hosting of the Olympics.

We should all be  grateful to the Japanese people for hosting the 2020 Olympics and bringing some joy and relief from the current global doom.

We should all salute the Japanese people.

3.The athletes and COVID-19

Athletes need total dedication to be at the top of their discipline. Elite athletes often train six to seven days a week and often before and/or after school or work. They also need discipline in terms of their diet and social activities. The sacrifice for their sporting achievements is total. And the ultimate test for most of them is winning at the Olympics, but at what additional cost?

Currently athletes face this ultimate dilemma, do they go to the 2020 Olympics and risk getting the COVID-19 virus or do they stay at home to be COVID-19 safe? The Olympic organisers have developed protocols to minimize the risk of infection, but nobody is naïve enough to think that there will be no outbreaks (in fact there are already some limited cases amongst some of the athletes). There is no right or wrong answer to this dilemma, some athletes decided not to go whilst many others are participating. Some of them, like Naomi Osaka, are even overcoming mental health issues to participate in the Olympics(https://www.bbc.com/sport/olympics/57841166).

We should all salute the athletes of the 2020 Olympics for bringing the world hope and excitement.

4.Key takeaways

 The Olympic games generally brings hope and joy to the world.

After the global COVID-19 doom and gloom of the last two years, the world needs hope and joy.

The Japanese people, not without trepidation, are hosting the 2020 Olympic games.

Olympic athletes are participating in the 2020 Olympics with the full knowledge that the threat of getting the COVID-19 virus is enhanced during the games.

WE SHOULD ALL SALUTE THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN AND THE OLYMPIC ATHLETES FOR THE 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES.

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