TOKYO (WFLA) — As the Tokyo 2020 Olympics come to a close, organizers aren’t just looking at the medal count. They say the COVID-19 numbers inside the Olympic bubble show the games went off successfully.
“We suggest that this has been, as promised, a safe and secure game,” Dr. Brian McCloskey said.
McCloskey, who helped lead the Olympic bubble, said it was a massive undertaking. More than 600,000 COVID-19 tests were administered, and since July 1, only 430 people and 29 athletes related to the games tested positive.
“It was a huge amount of work for a very hard-working team,” McCloskey said.
All of this despite the fact that COVID numbers in Tokyo are at a record high. New cases in the capital have more than tripled since the Olympics began on July 23.
McCloskey said it wasn’t just vaccines, social distancing, or wearing a mask, but a combination of health and safety measures that worked.
“The important bit is, it’s the whole package of doing the public health measures and the testing,” he said.
He said it’s an important lesson he hopes the rest of the world learns from.
“What Tokyo has just done in a historic way has proven that that advice is the right advice, and by following basic public health measures and by layering on top of that the testing program, we have shown it is possible to keep a pandemic at bay,” McCloskey said.
Japan has managed to keep its cases and deaths lower than much of the world, but testing is still insufficient and Tokyo’s positivity rate stands at 20%, indicating widespread infections. Its seven-day moving average is 8.3 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 2.9 in India, 6.5 in the Philippines and 27.3 in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Experts say higher vaccination rates are needed to control the outbreak.
Despite a late start, vaccinations picked up in May and 31.5% of the population is now fully immunized.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.