The 2021 Summer Olympics are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Associated Press, Japan announced a state of Emergency in Tokyo and other areas through May 31. This comes less than three months before the Olympic Games kick off in Tokyo, an event that was pushed back last year due to the pandemic.
The state of emergency is in Japan due to COVID-19 spreading in the country. It's one of the least vaccinated countries in the world and has avoided any hard lockdowns to curb infections. This past Friday, Tokyo recorded 907 new cases of coronavirus infections, which is above the target of 100. The spike in COVID-19 cases now put the Olympic games in question, which is scheduled to start on July 23. Since the pandemic began, Japan has had around 616,000 COVID-19 cases including 10,500 deaths.
PopCulture.com recently spoke to Olympic champion swimmer Katie Ledecky about the protocol she has received when she goes to Tokyo. "The Olympic committee they're starting to put out more and more information each day about some of those different testing and other measures," she said. "But, you know, we've been doing that on a regular basis in our training environment, so I feel pretty comfortable and confident with all of that. And I know it's going to feel like a little different Olympics, it's going to look different, won't have quite as many spectators, we won't have our family at the Olympics, but I think we're still going to be able to have a great game and a great experience in Tokyo."
PopCulture.com also spoke to Olympic Champion swimmer Ryan Murphy, who revealed why the games need to happen this year. "I think back to when I felt like my Olympic dream formed, and that was at the age of five," Murphy said to PopCulture. "I remember watching those 2000 Olympics in Australia, and ever since then I've had this Olympic dream. It only comes around every four years, and so I think it's really important to allow these athletes, including myself, to try to reach their dreams at an event like the Olympics."
Back in September, International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates said the games will happen no matter what. "It will take place with or without COVID," Coates said while also adding the 2021 Olympics will be the "games that conquered COVID."