The Olympics in the era of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The 2021 Olympics Games are about to open the doors for the competition to begin. The word of Pierre de Coubertin will certainly, once again stimulate athletes around the world to compete the same way traditions from the last Olympiads has carried the torch to Tokyo, Japan. For the first time ever, they were postponed although they have already been cancelled because of wars. . Freely, athletes will be allowed to compete in the spirit of the competition after being postponed for a year. The emphasis on the new games will be placed on the healthcare of the athletes and their wellness in the spirit of the competition.
An athlete recently stated that he did not want to be tested against COVID-19prior to head to the Olympics. Although’ he is an American athlete, gold medalist contender, Michael Andrew, did not want to have the COVID-19vaccine to avoid any derailing from his training stated that he is an elite athlete and everything he will put in his body will potentially derail his training activities. The Olympics will happen during the pandemic. Many other athletes judged him as a selfish and many are already wearied that the COVID-19 may spread among the athletes and through the games It also shifted to the facts that the Olympics were postponed last year in 2020 may be about to fight against the virus in victory or in defeat.
COVID-19 has already changed the physiognomy of the 2021 Olympic games. Vaccinations are not required but strongly suggested. On the podium, it is already decided that the winner of a medal will pickup its own to place it around its neck and no official will be present to place it around the neck of the winner. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not mandate vaccination but states that 85% of its athletes are fully vaccinated or has natural immunity from a prior infection. Although many would have wished that 100% of athletes to be fully vaccinated. Around the world, medical organizations are seeing in the measures a failure of the IOC to take seriously the Coronavirus. 11,000 athletes are expected to compete in Tokyo from more than 200 countries for these games of the XXXII Olympiad and the opening ceremony will stand for the 23rd of July 2021.
83% Japanese voters opposed to the Olympiad at the beginning because of the concern with COVID-10, but the number has faded out in a late poll to 30.5%. The Japanese government has declared a state of emergency earlier in July 2021.Only 19% of the Japan population is vaccinated and according to the statistics, Japan has 825,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 15,00 deaths. Although last preparations are on the way between the IOC and the Japanese minister in Japan. It was stressed that 100% of the IOC members and staff were vaccinated but the media expected to participate in the game will have a 80% vaccination rate.
Groups have already taken position in Japan and so far, only 3 persons were found to be positive for COVID-19 and they were rapidly isolated. Ili the one in close contact with them quarantined. There are some guidelines issued by the IOC:
Self-monitoring (2 weeks prior travelling)
Testing prior to departing for the games, on arrival at the airport and daily during the hams. The athlete may be tested if there is a discovery of any symptom. If the athlete ids found positive, he is isolated,
Contact tracking: any person in close contact with an infected individual w by smartphone app…for risk’s reduction:
Masks to be worn at all times except when eating, drinking, running, sleeping or competing. Other restrictions from the health experts are expected on contact tracing, testing frequency, ventilation,
The US delegation in Tokyo has 613 athletes and around 100 of them, less than 1/6 of the Olympians are unvaccinated.
The International Olympic Committee has estimated that 85% of the residents in the Olympic village have received the vaccine.
Contacts in sport can be riskier in a competition like wrestling where close contacts are frequent but with a weightlifter the contacts are almost nil. The same with Boxing and Badminton etc. Fencers have a higher chance in spreading the virus than a track and field athletes, etc, this can become a challenge for the floor sweeper to the referees or the one standing in a shop selling goods or distributing tickets at the entry of the stadium etc. The games deserve the name of the COVID-19 games. So many venues to challenge the IOC
No matter the precautions taken, this event is assured to be a super spreader. We will wish that every participant to the Olympic receive both doses of the vaccine prior to be able to compete. of the Coronavirus and the world will have to frame itself for the consequences. Athletes have no fundamental right to be able to harm others while they are competing for a medal. One of the best prospects for gold in the 100 meter-race has already been disqualified because of substance abuse.
May the games begin…
Maxime Coles MD
Boca Raton FL
July 15, 2021