Tokyo is facing its worst COVID-19 surge yet, with cases hitting a six-month high on Thursday—just one day before the the Opening Ceremony. Iwata, who has been a frequent critic of the decision to hold the Games in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, adds that that doesn’t mean that he hopes Japan loses. “But if Japanese athletes don’t win that much, and the number of the COVID-19 keeps rising, day-by-day, then people may become frustrated and be pessimistic, then that might ironically suppress the risk of COVID-19,” he says. Hitoshi Oshitani, the virologist who helped devise Japan’s COVID-19 strategy, says he expects this wave, the fifth Japan has faced, to be its worst. People wearing masks amid the novel coronavirus pandemic walk in Tokyo's Shibuya district on July 22, 2021, a day before the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.
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