Coronavirus Delta strain in Olympics : In the shadow of the Tokyo Olympics, the infection of COVID-19 is increasing to an unprecedented record in the Japanese capital, and doctors fear the collapse of the medical system.
The ABC was given unusual access inside the Asoka-Hakuokai hospital, and when Dr. Hiroaki Shiraishi headed to the COVID-19 ward, he pointed to the door and said: “I hope I have never opened this.”
Inside was a single respirator.
Asoka Hospital is the only coronavirus cases clinic. Seriously ill patients are referred to health facilities with intensive care units.
If Dr. Shiraishi one day has to open this door and take out a ventilator, it means that the situation is so bad in the whole city that no other hospital will take his seriously ill patient.
He will have to try to save that person’s life.
“I think we’re close to a collapse of the medical care system as we can’t respond any further,” Dr Shiraishi said.
Coronavirus Delta strain fuels Tokyo’s growing outbreak
In Tokyo, the numbers are steadily rising.
A record number of new infections were reported yesterday in the capital city alone: 3,177.
Most of the patients at Dr. Shiraishi Hospital are over 40 years of age or younger, and they are in good condition.
But the arrival of Delta’s highly contagious diversity on the coast of Japan means that her 14 beds have been full for months.
More than half of his patients are infected with the Delta type.
Her hospital has PCR coronavirus tests sent by a local community health clinic.
In the past few months, about 15 percent of those who come through the door have been found. This week it was over 40 percent.
Those with low or no symptoms are considered at home, but those with moderate symptoms come to hospitals such as Dr. Shiraishi’s.
Across the city, more than 3,400 people are currently waiting to enter hospitals for treatment, but there are not enough beds.
As Delta spreads, the number of serious cases in the city last month nearly doubled, reaching 78 on Monday, according to government data.
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To date, deaths have not increased significantly and Japan has avoided infection rates found in countries such as Indonesia and India.
In anticipation of an increase in cases and in view of the critical condition of the hospital, Tokyo has already announced the fourth critical condition this month that will continue until after the Olympics.
The city has asked hospitals to get another 500 beds for coronavirus patients in anticipation of a worse situation.
At Asoka Hospital, Dr Shiraishi simply has no staff caring for other patients.
He would have to cut back on routine tests and procedures, which he said were likely to cause a real collapse in the medical system.
Inside the ward nursing station, many machines were constantly complaining about oxygen saturation and heart rates.
One nurse said “her patients are going through a traumatic period”.
“The fact is, the number of patients is increasing while vaccination is not going up in Japan,” he said.
“More people are severely ill. The patients are struggling.
“Nurses have to wear protective equipment this summer and are experiencing difficulties in this stressful environment.”
Olympic spectacle will go on
It is impossible to calculate how much the Olympics have driven the increase in cases – if so.
But many Japanese have long feared that the influx of athletes and Olympic officials could add to the increase.
About 70,000 people flew to Tokyo for the games. So far only 169 Olympic-related cases have been confirmed.
Amid fears that the virus could spread in public places, about 31 percent of Japanese people surveyed by the Nikkei newspaper say that the Games should be canceled or postponed.
“There is no such thing,” said Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, when asked if he could apply for a revocation.
Some doctors see the government at the same time encouraging people to celebrate the Games and urging them to stay home.
“People are around the Olympic venues and I think the biggest impact from the Games is the big Tokyo event,” said Dr Shiraishi.
Most of the year 2021, Tokyo was in an emergency, and food applications were quickly shut down and no alcohol supply was often overlooked.
Doctors are urging people here to be vaccinated, with only 26 percent of the population fully diagnosed.
In the end, the people here are just satisfied.
“This situation has been going on for a long time,” said Dr Shiraishi.
“And I think people released their guard thinking they wouldn’t find you.”