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Expert panel discourages large gatherings, recommends reopening some schools

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By Rocky Swift

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There never was a massive hidden outbreak in Japan. The doomsayers were wrong.

-34 ( +10 / -44 )

Japan still has some real experts. Good recommendations save time and lives, bad recommendations waste time and lives.

-16 ( +3 / -19 )

I am not comfortable having out 3 kids return to public schools in April. Why don't we have distance and online learning in Japan? I thought the Ministry of Education controls all facets of education except maybe for private int'l schools. So we called them and they know nothing about distance learning only said each school does or does not do it themselves. We called some schools and were told no elementary or Jr high schools have distanced learning options - only some high schools do - but there is no list or database on which do. I find this absurd. If any JT readers know anything please educate us.

19 ( +24 / -5 )

macv, your complaint is received. It is strange that no one even learned about distance learning. This is 21st century.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

The virus has temporarily receeded, no doubt partly because of the decision to close schools and the general sense of crisis it created. The virus will return, however.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Ah_so, unfortunately, human and virus are all mother's children, no one is more special than others.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Congratulations to Japan and Japanese people! Both in acting properly in cleanliness and in keeping a happy disposition. I am so happy to be here.

-16 ( +5 / -21 )

Meanwhile, much of the rest of the world is in lockdown and is testing, testing, testing, for a reason.

Listen to this new BBC Podcast to see why it is absolutely necessary to test and isolate, and why the only way to contain this is full lockdown. Testing can be carried out very easily, widely, and at very low cost. I was wondering how poorer countries were able to develop and initiative regimes it at such a rate.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csythj

The main issue is that Japan, with its highly engrained and stubborn bureaucracy, is unable to accept change easily. Nobody wants to take the initiative to challenge it when it's out of control.

19 ( +23 / -4 )

There have been 30-40 new cases reported every day for the past two weeks. How is that a slight decrease in new cases? This statement reads much more like advice from a panel of bureaucrats or politicians than it does a panel of health experts. I’d feel much more comfortable with their recommendations if Japan had a comprehensive testing regime.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

School holidays starts today, so opening schools isn't going to do anything.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In today's technology, the test can be done on site, and the result can be known in 2 minutes. Japan has channel to obtain the test kits, if needed. O the other hand, Japan did very good job to prevent the pandemic happening, that is the only reason, other than being unique people, to explain the response curve.

-16 ( +2 / -18 )

With heavily congested train travel in Japan the norm then it is surprising that there have not been more cases.

It might be that there are?

Could be that many cases are asymptomatic.

If there are, the mortality rate is not high.

In the elderly it has been, in the young not.

I would propose that children are less susceptible.

On a personal note.

I am exposed to higher than normal risk as a majority of family members regularly meet hospital personnel and patients.

For that reason we prioritize hand washing and swabbing the table with some disinfectant before eating-so far, so good.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

kurisupisu, the only difference between Japanese and Koreans and Chinese are less testing. Other than that, as you correctly pointed out, "prioritize hand washing and swabbing the table with some disinfectant before eating" are the same for all three countries, in addition to public area cleaning.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

If, in three weeks, Japan can maintain the low numbers, doesn't have to be zero, scientifically speaking, then the Olympics should not be canceled.

It is absolutely impossible to get negative numbers, so don't ask for it.

-17 ( +3 / -20 )

I guess mothers and dads did get the memo. Was out on my jog yesterday and area along riversides are packed with mom and kids. A couple of dads too but mostly moms

2 ( +2 / -0 )

These so called experts must drop the hammer and make the, in the strongest terms possible, force the government to open testing to any and all who have been exposed, and not just those who have symptoms.

THAT will stop the spread! Not this half-arsed manner in which we are seeing now.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

School holidays starts today, so opening schools isn't going to do anything.

But Gogo, if the schools open, that means they can start club activities again, and trust me, there will be special classes to make up for the lost time.

Look at the hoops we are jumping through to try and explain why Japan doesn't have more cases, and why the number of dead are not piling up. I think we have been lucky up to now, let's keep vigilant and hope that things don't get out of hand.

>

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Despite the people who always insist that they aren't effective, I firmly believe that the widespread use of masks in Japan has been really beneficial. So long as everybody uses them, the R0 value (contagiousness) of the disease should be cut down. This would especially be the case for asymptomatic carriers who would otherwise not be wearing a mask and releasing respiratory droplets unabated. How else do you explain the the lack of exponential growth in cases and deaths without relying on conspiracy theories?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

According to today's report, Japan's R0 (basic reproduction number) has stayed at around 1 for almost a month. It's a positive, hopeful sign. Hokkaido has declared the end of emergency. With further caution people will soon be able to come back to normal life.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Magical thinking running amok here

11 ( +11 / -0 )

How many people are there in the expert panel and how many of them are medical doctors, who frontlined pandemic situations?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@Jijitsu,

In total, 12 persons, majority are from medical background. Below is the member list for the panel (in Japanese).

新型コロナウイルス感染症対策専門家会議の開催について

https://www.cas.go.jp/jp/influenza/senmonka_konkyo.pdf

It's right to say that they are experienced and reliable.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There hasn't be a spike in numbers. So of course schools and events should restart.

Are you planning to homeschool your kids until there is a vaccine?

Are sports events canceled until then too?

If you want to stay home., avoid crowded spaces etc, great

Please let the rest of us enjoy , events , school for kids etc.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Akie, I’m not so sure about the 3 week timeframe you’ve given for the Olympics to go ahead. Of course I would love for it to happen, but the global situation is very different to the Japan situation. Things could change for the better everywhere though and I hope they do.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why tempt fate by scaling back efforts? If we've got a handle on things here, let's keep doing what we're doing. If there are areas of Japan that are unaffected and don't see much in the way of tourism or business travel, then sure, get on with life. But for the rest of Japan, I think it's more prudent to keep up with current measures. Stamping this thing out all together is not possible, but if we can maintain the current curve, that's a win.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@fuzzy

Again how long to you propose continuing like this.

Companies are going bankrupt, people are being laid off, kids are restless.

These so called contagion actions have serious consequences.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The infectious disease experts made no reference to the Tokyo Olympics,

Yes they did, Rocky. In the previous sentence you wrote.

large gatherings and enclosed areas that could reignite the contagion should still be avoided

3 ( +3 / -0 )

My professor friends at universities in USA and at Berklee College of Music all are teaching from home now. Why isn't Japan doing this? There are plenty of free technology apps available. This crisis is a great time to clean up shop Japan get your act together.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@carpslidy

I'm aware of the potential consequences of the actions. Where we don't see eye to eye is, I believe the consequences of inaction, or not enough action, will prove far worse. Not just health impacts, but also economically.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Meanwhile, from another article (not sure if this is the same panel of experts)...

The panel also "presented an estimate that about 3,300 coronavirus cases will emerge in Osaka and Hyogo together by April 3," Yoshimura said

So we've got a little under 1000 cases nationwide as of today, but the experts are predicting an increase of 3,300 (in two prefectures alone) within 2 weeks... that right there is the beginning of the exponential growth phase. Shouldn't we be ramping up measures rather than scaling back?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

I think it's too soon.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Tokyo seems as bustling as ever, at least in the suburbs where I live. Construction, warehouses, stores, restaurants, cars, trucks, people walking and riding their bikes. I saw a big group of people arrive at a Yakiniku restaurant nearby. 90% of the pedestrians I see have masks on at least. I have heard the tourist areas are mainly inhabited by high school kids.

Not sure why it isn't as rampant as it is overseas.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What kind of experts are these? Isn't that counter productive? You should avoid large gatherings but let's reopen the schools which crams 600 or more people together.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

These "so-called" experts being trotted out to cover up the real toll,are old men that are cluster threats themselves.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Tora

Testing can be carried out very easily, widely, and at very low cost.

In epidemiology and public health viewpoint, the purpose of testing is to identify key clusters and spreading dynamics. Its process is rigorous with selected samples/data, not easily obtained with 15-min test kit.

In clinical levels where fast, best treatment is ultimately sought, testing only is insufficient for diagnosis, should be accompanied with other inquiries and with doctor's consultation. Testing suffers a reliability problem with error results (that's why multiple approaches are needed). Negative-turn-positive people could be harmful, responsible for spreading the virus, if wrongly thinking they are "cleared" with a negative result.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Despite the people who always insist that they aren't effective, I firmly believe that the widespread use of masks in Japan has been really beneficial. So long as everybody uses them, the R0 value (contagiousness) of the disease should be cut down. This would especially be the case for asymptomatic carriers who would otherwise not be wearing a mask and releasing respiratory droplets unabated. How else do you explain the the lack of exponential growth in cases and deaths without relying on conspiracy theories?

Valid comment. In my view, masks may not be effective for prevention, but wearing them makes yourself and others more aware of the issue, which could help promote other important habits like frequent handwashing among a larger population.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Fuzzy,

Meanwhile, from another article (not sure if this is the same panel of experts)...

The panel also "presented an estimate that about 3,300 coronavirus cases will emerge in Osaka and Hyogo together by April 3," Yoshimura said

So we've got a little under 1000 cases nationwide as of today, but the experts are predicting an increase of 3,300 (in two prefectures alone) within 2 weeks... that

This story is erroneous. At the news conference, the current panel denied giving any advice to Yoshimura (Osaka governor). So Yoshimura should be accountable for sources.

So long as R0 =1 plus minus, the 3,300 scenario is highly unlikely. In Osaka, all clusters have been located.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I wonder if posters crying for more testing have contacted authorities to inquire about the possibility of getting themselves tested.

Perhaps not.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Japan isn't out of the woods yet. People are acting like Japan beat this thing already, yet I see people still gathering at izakayas and bars, nightclubs still. All it takes is a couple clusters and you're back where you started, like playing an infinite game of wack-a-mole. I wouldn't open schools until after Golden Week. Kids will just bring the virus home to their families and spread it around the country. Unless you have 14 days of no cases, keep the schools closed. Also, one student or teacher from every school should be randomly tested. Random tests should continue until they can confirm there are no more cases.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Wonder how many suicides contagion actions have played a factor in.

I would image its more than the 33 corona deaths.

I guess you could argue they would have ended the lifes for a different reason in the end.

seeing as almost all coronapatients are in there 80s they were going to die eventually.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@noriahojanen

This story is erroneous.

I'll take you on your word for this as I've not seen the full press conference.

So long as R0 =1 plus minus, the 3,300 scenario is highly unlikely. In Osaka, all clusters have been located.

Where are you getting the the R0=1 stat from? While it sounds encouraging, unfortunately it leads right back to the testing debate. If you want to rely on R0, we need good data.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Any numbers released out there with the low testing regime and turning away of people with symptoms is unreliable. It will be interesting to know the death rate from pneumonia, which percentage is corona virus related and comparision to previous years, with the ministry of health having a full grip on data it is a tall order.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Well Done Japan, A+++ on the grades card.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

I like the advice of those expert panels: discourage large gatherings but open some schools!!!

In other words: Please wash my body but don’t make me wet.

I am under the impression that authorities in this country keep the number of infected people low by not testing suspicious cases. Since the high-risk patients are the ones with an already existing disease or of old age, certifying an unrelated cause of death for such casualties does not seem a big problem.

Going on with the Olympics is not that bad an idea either, it will dramatically increase the likelihood of a lot of gold medals for Japanese athletes since many top athletes with their senses intact will rather stay home. The only problem will be the expected inflow of money, I guess that is not going to happen because common sense will certainly prevent me and most others from attending such an event.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

CDC on the use of basic reproduction number (R0):

"Counting the number of cases of infection during an epidemic can be extremely difficult, even when public health officials use active surveillance and contact tracing to attempt to locate all infected persons. Although measuring the true R0 value is possible during an outbreak of a newly emerging infectious pathogen that is spreading through a wholly susceptible population, rarely are there sufficient data collection systems in place to capture the early stages of an outbreak when R0 might be measured most accurately. As a result, R0 is nearly always estimated retrospectively from seroepidemiologic data or by using theoretical mathematical models."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@akie

If, in three weeks, Japan can maintain the low numbers, doesn't have to be zero, scientifically speaking, then the Olympics should not be canceled.

On what basis “scientifically speaking” do you base your comment? Going ahead with the Olympics will bring hundreds of thousands of visitors from infected countries into to Japan to mingle with the population. How does that fit in to your equation scientifically speaking? Common sense alone tells me otherwise!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If testing and isolation were the key to stopping the spread of c-19, then why hasn't it worked in Italy? They have been on lock down for over two weeks and yet the death toll has skyrocketed in the past few days, surpassing the death toll in China.

Like I've said before, testing massive numbers of people will do nothing to stop the spread of the virus. Basic, common sense cleanliness and habits will though.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@ Fuzzy

Where are you getting the the R0=1 stat from? 

I've just got it from today's news conference above. The full report is also published (in Japanese; hopefully an English version is coming...)

「新型コロナウイルス感染症対策の状況分析・提言」

https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/10900000/000610566.pdf

Info about R0 status is detailed on Page 3 of the report. R0 has ranged between 0.4-1.1 since 16 Feb.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Jiji Press is reporting the following:

A government panel of experts Thursday warned of the risk of a "massive epidemic" of the novel coronavirus in Japan.

Japan has managed to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infection growth to some extent, the panel said in its assessment of the effects of measures taken across the nation.

"But the spread of infections is continuing in some areas, which could lead to a massive epidemic," it also said.

This is completely different in tone from other reports on the panel's assessment of the situation in Japan. Who to give credence to?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Minori Sawa, an 8-year-old second grader in elementary school, with her mother Junko and her younger brother Kota, listen to a new live radio show on FM Sagami for kids who are stuck at home, as schools across Japan remain closed, at their home in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, in this photo taken on March 12.

This is exactly how my kids look being forced to stay home all day. Parks and outdoors let's them get their energy out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

so basically in every developed countries Europe/North America we’re dealing responsibly with imposing measure of quarantine and safety and here in Japan they rather suggest to don’t assemble or gather in public places.

The official numbers of infected in Italy is high due to the government willing to test people unlike in Japan.

But the good thing even in a national newspaper of my country they mention how the Abe and his government is basically the only one trying to fake numbers in order to save their so precious olympics.

And I’m 100% positive that this infection is already spreading in the developing countries but unlike Europe and North America they don’t have the instruments to test and neither the facility.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@Akie... you seem to know how to control the virus... are you an expert??)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan has tailored the number of cases but the scary part is the rebound transmission once the schools and other facilities reopened!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

mariasjapanToday  10:35 am JST

@Akie... you seem to know how to control the virus... are you an expert??

Maria some of us stopped even to reply at that element,big mouth,high presumption and offensive as well.

I’ll say a perfect product of the CCP.

Just ignore.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Amazing, people thinking it is over. It is not. Until there is a vaccine (or we all get infected) and we have herd immunity. It is not over. In the time it takes a second, third, or even fourth wave to sweep through, COVID-19 may well mutate and become more virulent. Then the toilet paper really will be needed. Stay vigilant, common sense so, not hysteria or panic, because this is not over. Even then, just wait until we’ve scraped, and chopped and herded and caged and eaten through the natural world and release something with a mortality rate of Ebola spread by a measles like virus.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Jiji Press is reporting the following:

A government panel of experts Thursday warned of the risk of a "massive epidemic" of the novel coronavirus in Japan.

Japan has managed to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infection growth to some extent, the panel said in its assessment of the effects of measures taken across the nation.

"But the spread of infections is continuing in some areas, which could lead to a massive epidemic," it also said.

This is completely different in tone from other reports on the panel's assessment of the situation in Japan. Who to give credence to?

Link to source:

https://www.nippon.com/en/news/yjj2020031901206/japan-panel-warns-of-risk-of-massive-coronavirus-epidemic.html

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Dukeleto, scientifically speaking, at 160 F, 30 minutes, the virus killed, as simple as that. All Japan needs is hot tubs.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Dukeleto, don't try jump into the tub yourself, it is for your clothing.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

So what this article is saying is the chance for clusters are slim because of low cases. Is this assessment based on testing results?. To this day, I have not heard of any significant testing in Japan. True Japan may not be equipped for testing like many places have not been. I am waiting for the IOC to take Japan off the table for holding the Olympics and that apparently will not happen until May. Will it not be too late declare a national emergency then? Oh, I may be totally wrong and if I am, Japan will be a better place in a few months as athletes decide to not stumble into Japan out of shape or because the effects in their countries are too overwhelming to send them. Maybe postponing once to when the weather is nice in October or a year from now.

Now I will tell you the raw truth why I HOPE the OLYMPICS can be held. I am in my seventh year battling stage four cancer (CUP cancer - please Google it) and one of my goals was to make it still alive until at least this summer. I am an avid basketball fan and since March Madness was wiped out, the OLYMPICS is next.

Although I would love to see an Olympics, human lives are at stake. Is wide area testing not top priority?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

kitzrow

I feel for you.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kitzrow, it is reasonable to ask questions. But scientifically speaking, the virus is most active between 5-15 celsius. The virus will die at 60 celsius. As long as all cloths are go through hot tubs, and people are monitored using unintrusive technologies, it is reasonable to assume that the virus can be catched at early stage.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Kitzrow, hang in there tough. Miracles do happen.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Actually, Japan isn't the only nation to have such successful preventive measures against the virus. Vietnam and Mongolia all have better records than Japan, and all are closer to China than Japan is. Mongolia president even went to China in the most dangerous time to show the support (he even gave China 30,000 sheeps). When he returned back to Mongolia, he self quarantined for 14 days. This virus can be beaten, all you need is the best practice and common sense.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The virus will die at 60 celsius. As long as all cloths are go through hot tubs,

Of what good is washing clothes when you have contracted the virus and you don't know.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

drlucifer, I already answered your questions even before you asked. If you contracted the virus in your cloths, the hot tub will take care of it. If you contracted the virus in your body, the temperature will show it.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Mixed messages much?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That haven't

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's hard to know how this will all end. Closing schools was a good thing. But the fact that some schools and companies still required everyone to come in still means Coronavirus is spreading. But little testing for the virus gives a false sense of things under control. I predict that things will get worse. Japan just can't overcome the cultural "continue to work while sick" syndrome.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There are more viruses danger than this one, as long as you can get them under control, it causes no big problems. All Japan did is exactly that, get it under control.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

This is plain insanity and raises the curve so that everything will be even worse. Meanwhile the numbers continue to rise ( even with the severely restricted testing). that many use them to believe it is all good in Japan and super Japan has beaten the virus with next to no effort.

Lemmings walking over the cliff.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Covid19th cases by country from John Hopkins dashboard.

And where is john hopkins getting the data from the various governments, the same data anybody can get if they the various government sites.

Lack of transparency makes any data unreliable.

The number of cases in Japan and the measures taken by Japan clearly defies the behavior of the virus in every country. In every country despite the lock down it has spread exponentially, Are we to assume the virus does not spread in the train, in companies, in restaurants. Supermarket shopping carts, building door knobs just a few of the places even with the utmost care can still be infected.

What we know so far is that every country that has ramped up testing have shown a rapid exponential increase in cases and these countries will be better placed to know and decide when the virus has been brought under control.

I won't have faith in a pilot flying without radar.

We know many medical personels despite wearing mask have still contracted the virus.

Asking people to stay home if they show symptoms and not testing them is indirectly telling them to self diagnose themselves.

Even a medical doctor with mild symptoms won't know he is infected without a test. It all boils down to test, test, test as the WHO says.

All of us have to keep our side of the bargain that is take precaution and maintain good sanitation.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The calm before the storm.... get realistic Japan!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

And I’m 100% positive that this infection is already spreading in the developing countries but unlike Europe and North America they don’t have the instruments to test and neither the facility.

I’m getting a bit fed up with this kind of thing. You shouldn’t be 100% positive here. If you listen to experts, you hear expressions like ‘most likely’, ‘probably’ and ‘possibly’.

What do you know that they don’t?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What explains the low number of testing? Is it due to the economic considerations that would be impacted by panic? What are the numbers of infected showing mild symptoms that mask hay fever?

With Japan’s aging population, I’m concerned that a return back to normal could threaten the demographic that is most vulnerable.

Basing recommendations on “the data” because politicians feel the economic pressures is irresponsible. Moreover, not having a comprehensive testing program in place questions the reliability and verifiability of the statistics.

Finally, “social distancing has not caught on as a recommended safeguard.” Until more testing is afforded this situation is a ticking time-bomb ready to explode. Most people would probably go to work sick because they can’t afford to live.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Here you are.

https://web.archive.org/web/20200316112915/https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/10900000/000608801.pdf

No testing, no problem policy?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No need cuz the Coronavirus in Japan has been largely contained

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Many possible answers, e.g. about low numbers on testing, here:

https://safecast.org/2020/03/covid-19-testing-in-japan-the-situation-and-ramifications/?fbclid=IwAR1oM4I6BErwPfWzuzjET9eMNumxTVk4y4Li5YhptwtPjtjfxHwzL8fa1Sw

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The reported numbers of infected obviously misrepresents the actual number because Japan is not testing. We can only trust the number of deaths, as it is more difficult to hide. Statistically, if we assume our health care is as good as Germany, there should be around 13,000 people infected.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Ilyas, it is not a matter of "belief", it is proven scientific fact that masks are not effective in preventing the virus from entering one's body. Go to the science for your "beliefs". Most of the mask wearing is simply sheepish virtue signaling.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Many possible answers, e.g. about low numbers on testing, here:

https://safecast.org/2020/03/covid-19-testing-in-japan-the-situation-and-ramifications/?fbclid=IwAR1oM4I6BErwPfWzuzjET9eMNumxTVk4y4Li5YhptwtPjtjfxHwzL8fa1Sw

That is an excellent, balanced article.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

(from a VOX article): 

Until now, testing for the virus in Japan has been limited by policy. There is no official body like the US CDC tasked with handling emergency public health issues. Instead, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), under the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) has taken the lead. All requests for COVID-19 testing, we are told, must be approved by this body, which is currently overloaded. As many people have noted, including several we’ve heard from who have enough of the symptoms to strongly suspect they have coronavirus but have been unable to obtain a test in Japan, the NIID has set a high hurdle of conditions which must be met before tests will be approved. In order to qualify for the first medical consultation, the person must have been in close contact with a known infected person, defined as contact over a long period of time or living together, examining or caring for a patient without taking protective measures, or contact with bodily fluids, and currently have fever of 37.5’ Celsius or respiratory symptoms; and/or had visited an endemic area in Hubei or Zhejiang Provinces, and currently have fever of 37.5’ Celsius or respiratory symptoms. Those who call Japan’s Novel Coronavirus Patient Consultation Call Center (03-5320-4592/03-5285-8181) and are recommended for in-person outpatient consultation must then appear at the designated center and be examined. If the doctor suspects COVID-19, he can recommend a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, and seek approval from the NIID for it. In practice, we are told, the NIID is so inundated with requests it is often difficult for doctors to get through by phone. This system presents a strong bottleneck to testing. Invalid CSRF

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Currently going through this in the US and the Japanese reaction or non reaction seems much better...no long lines at the grocery store, no shortage of tp, no hoarding of food, seems like the apocalypse here...

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Ilyas, it is not a matter of "belief", it is proven scientific fact that masks are not effective in preventing the virus from entering one's body. Go to the science for your "beliefs". Most of the mask wearing is simply sheepish virtue signaling.

I read there is evidence that masks can help prevent spread by catching droplets from a potentially infected wearer.

That is not virtue signaling.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If the denialists on here objectively compared the reaction of all the other countries ravaged by the virus to that of japans, you wouldn't lull yourself into believing that everything is A-OK. This is a new virus that we don't know much about. Flippantly dismissing it because it's flower season is foolhardy.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It is a myth that Japan is not testing.  Japan is testing about 2,000 cases a day.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

@tinawatanabe

It is a myth that Japan is not testing. Japan is testing about 2,000 cases a day.

Really? Source please.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

First, massive indiscriminate testing cannot be done, nobody does it. The other countries who have done massive testing have done so in accordance with what guidelines they follow. They have done massive testing because there have been massive cases that were likely to be covid19 according to the guideline.

Before, I was under the impression that Japan was also operating under WHO guidelines, albeit more strictly but I have read that indeed Japan is operating under a different one. As explained in the post above it was largely a matter of policy, specifically for epidemiological reasons rather than medical reasons, whatever those means.

Anyway, I just want to say that of course, low number of testing would most probably lead to a lower number of positive cases as compared to greater number of testing like in other countries. Why did I have to say most probably? Because there is a chance that even low numbers of testing will lead to more positive cases than with greater number of testing. So those who are rather obsessed with the numbers maybe it would be better to look at the percentages, focus on the number of positives visvis number of tests

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

how many of those experts have young kids in school, family members with critical afflictions?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Rome-based institute has examined medical records of about 18% of the country’s coronavirus fatalities, finding that just three victims, or 0.8% of the total, had no previous pathology. Almost half of the victims suffered from at least three prior illnesses and about a fourth had either one or two previous conditions.

More than 75% had high blood pressure, about 35% had diabetes and a third suffered from heart disease.

All under 40 deaths had serious preexisting conditions

Bloomberg news

I think kids are fine to go to school

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

A: Avoid large gatherings

B: Return to school, and spend the first three days in assembly ceremonies.

Great job, Oxymoron-Man!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Even if Japan is getting away with it now (and it might not actually be without testing as proof) then it could easily be screwed over later. Japanese people aren't magically immune to it and all it takes is one infected person to come into the country to spread it...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why is Japan so unscathed by this virus unlike other Countries ?

Perhaps we've over-reacted here ?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Ilyas, it is not a matter of "belief", it is proven scientific fact that masks are not effective in preventing the virus from entering one's body. Go to the science for your "beliefs". Most of the mask wearing is simply sheepish virtue signaling.

I didn't say the mask prevented you personally from getting sick. But it stops some of the respiratory droplets we all release from freely entering the air, which can help other people not get sick from your infection. 'My mask protects you, your mask protects me' being the idea.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Anyone who tells me masks aren’t scientifically proven to be effective in combating the spread of this virus is still sleeping in darkness, if an infected person openly sneeze or cough in a crowded train without a mask on what will you expect ? This is common send that don’t require science to prove, my mask will help prevent me from being a super spreader just in case I carry the virus unaware, some scientists telling people not to wear mask at these times is just plain stupid, Japan has so far done well in getting things under control, considering how long this virus has been in the system, these experts handling the situation are better informed than most of us, we must applaud them for now and hope for the best

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@finto

Agreed. Everybody should be required to wear a mask when outside, like it was in China at the peak of the outbreak there.

If you're wearing a mask you're stopping yourself from infecting others though possible release of droplets. The mask stops these, which contain the virus (if you have it).

No mask = stay home.

Cold symptoms = stay home.

So many Japanese are STILL taking public transportation without masks/coughing symptoms.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I’ll still choose the cool head Japanese approach over the panic approach, the authorities must stick with an approach that works for Japan, take everything into consideration and make well informed decisions, no need to create a situation that will overwhelm and collapse the health care system, then when the time comes when u really need it, you will be left with many deficiencies, so far comparing with what we’ve seen in most countries, I’m happy with what we have going here

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@mavc Re: Distance learning.  I find this absurd. If any JT readers know anything please educate us.

Yes, my understanding is the same. It is up to individual teachers in K-12 classes how they teach the class. Teaching online requires teachers to be aware of a) technology and b) how teaching strategies differs from a classroom. Sadly teachers don't seem to have the incentives or technical support personnel available to help them.

If you know of any teachers in Hokkaido who want to transition their classes online this organization is providing help and guidance in E/J.

https://moodlejapan.org/course/view.php?id=82

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"The infectious disease experts made no reference to the Tokyo Olympics..."

Of COURSE they haven't! That's certainly not a large gathering of people at all! And there is no contact whatsoever, no transmission of spittle or sweat, and no physical contact. It follows every single guideline of what you should do during a pandemic.

And of course they also advice avoiding large gatherings but want school back on... mom and dad need the free daycare, and the McDonald's staff need a break.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Anyone who tells me masks aren’t scientifically proven to be effective in combating the spread of this virus is still sleeping in darkness, if an infected person openly sneeze or cough in a crowded train without a mask on what will you expect ? This is common send that don’t require science to prove, my mask will help prevent me from being a super spreader just in case I carry the virus unaware, some scientists telling people not to wear mask at these times is just plain stupid,

I somewhat agree, but I myself have been saving my masks for when I get sick or have to go somewhere crowded. Last winter I got sick 2-3 times but this year since I've been cleaning my hands like a nut and haven't gotten sick at all, meanwhile my mask-wearing co-workers seemed to be sick all the time. The masks give people a false sense of security, I think. That and people usually wear the same one on and off all day, touching it all the time.

Another thing is health-care workers are actually short on masks, so this might be one reason why health experts are saying only to wear them if you are sick.

I’ll still choose the cool head Japanese approach over the panic approach, the authorities must stick with an approach that works for Japan, take everything into consideration and make well informed decisions, no need to create a situation that will overwhelm and collapse the health care system, then when the time comes when u really need it, you will be left with many deficiencies, so far comparing with what we’ve seen in most countries, I’m happy with what we have going here

I agree. The problem with testing everyone is you have people with light symptoms taking up medical resources and possibly hospital beds, and/or infecting other people in the process. Italy have been doing the test test test thing recommended by WHO and let's face it, it has been a massive failure.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Close all schools. Now. Please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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