US Oly participation in doubt, other nations could increase medal tally

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The US State Department’s official advisory to its citizens to not travel to Japan may affect the 2021 Olympic Games as the US has the largest participation in Olympic Games.

New Delhi: Olympics followers believe that a restricted US participation might give other nations a chance to win many more gold medals than they would otherwise win.

The advisory was issued after the Center for Disease Control warned American citizens and said travellers should avoid all travel to Japan. Even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid variants, stated a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Japan.

“Now that there is a high possibility that the American athletes might not participate in the Games, the gates for other countries… are open,” said Vishrut Arora, who has been following the Olympics for the past 12 years.

The advisory stated that if American citizens are travelling to Japan, then they should get fully vaccinated before travel.

A public health expert from AIIMS, Delhi, said that for some vaccines, the gap between doses exceeds 80 days, and this might affect athletes who have not taken a single jab.

“Even if they get it now, the next dose will be due in August/September and the Olympic Games start on July 24. So it’s a crucial situation,” she said.

She believes that taking more than 10,000 athletes to a country where the number of cases is rising might create havoc.

According to Reuters’ global tracker, only 4.4% of Japan’s population has received at least one vaccine dose, making it the slowest vaccination rate among the world’s wealthiest countries.

The US, with a staggering 1,022 medals, has the highest number of gold medals in the Olympics.

According to an article in abcNEWS, Japan had in April declared a third state of emergency due to Covid. The state of emergency is expected to stay till May 31, but the Associated Press reported that officials are warning that the situation is still not under control.

As reported in India Today, the head of emergency medicine at OMPUH, Akira Takasu, said that the Olympics should be stopped as he thinks that the system has failed to stop the inflow of new variants of coronavirus from England. “The next might be an inflow of Indian variant which was first found in India and that can be easily spread as per WHO’s research.”

However, as per reports by ET, there is no indication that the 2021 Olympic games would be cancelled. The IOC has even gone ahead and conducted trial runs of various events.

The International Olympics Committee, which was wrapping up its final planning session with Tokyo Olympic organizers, has repeatedly said that they are going to go ahead with the game.

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