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Tokyo running out of beds and gear, medical staff say

63 Comments
By Ju-min Park, Izumi Nakagawa and Eimi Yamamitsu

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63 Comments
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With months to prep and literally seeing people dropping dead all over the world...how can we, one of the most capable and wealthy, still not conceptually be ready??

All services should be on standby ready to amp up during this time.

42 ( +47 / -5 )

With months to prep and literally seeing people dropping dead all over the world...how can we, one of the most capable and wealthy, still not conceptually be ready??

The Olympics

37 ( +40 / -3 )

the city had been preparing "specific medical measures" since March 23 for a possible increase in cases, including securing more beds.

Gee, that is the same day they decided to postpone the stupid Olympics. What a coincidence. So the two months they had before that to prepare for this were completely wasted.

35 ( +40 / -5 )

Japan barely tested anyone and now they are surprised that they are running out of beds and supplies. How is anyone going to be surprised by this outcome other than the ones who blindly trusted the inept fools led by Abe and Co.?

I really feel bad for Japanese and residents of Japan that did everything they could to protect and prepare themselves for this day because now they are going to have to deal with the fallout of those that did nothing.

35 ( +40 / -5 )

Tokyo hospital beds are at 130% full.

18 ( +21 / -3 )

This is what putting in your head in the sand looks like.

35 ( +36 / -1 )

Boy couldn't see this coming!!!!!!!!!!!!

27 ( +28 / -1 )

Might have to rethink about the "government Panel of experts" not as expert as they claimed. I know many non "experts" who months ago could see this coming. The government needs a Pannel of normal people to advise it, or doctors with experience with virus.

24 ( +27 / -3 )

They have to get the testing out of hospitals and on the streets, everywhere in fact, into drive-thru-testing and similar. Nobody should be allowed to enter a gospital untested. Everyone should get tested, it is the only way to keep the healthy uninfected and to protect medical personnel. And that Oshitani guy who "shapes" the government's policy should be fired immediately for criminal negligence and pig-headed stupidity.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

I remember when this all first happened we were constantly told that Japan had so many hospital beds per 1000 people, so even if this virus hit, they were better prepared for it. But I knew this was a load of bull. Yes they have more beds, but in many small private hospitals that cannot deal with this sever pandemic. Now here we are in the beginning throws of it, and already they are swamped and talking about having to choose who will live or die. This is all on Abe and Bach's hands. They waited so long to try and save their precious Olympics, and now they have doomed many Japanese people to death!

19 ( +21 / -2 )

This is a symptom of the culture more so than preparedness. Lived here 26 years. Japanese in general would rather just close their eyes and hope problems just magically go away on their own than face them head on. At least that’s my experience, so of course they aren't prepared.

37 ( +39 / -2 )

"We could empty out an entire ward and use it just for corona patients, but that means those patients (with other illnesses) will have to go elsewhere,"

I hope hospital’s are reviewing patients to see if there could be sent home a little early. My Mother-in-Law broke her arm a little while back, she was in hospital for 2 months. This was an option so she did not have to keep coming back for outpatient treatment.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

What's also alarming is:

"Like many other medical workers, she declined to be named because she is not allowed to speak to the media."

It's this the case in the UK, and other developed countries? I just saw a BBC report in New York, and a medical worker was openly complaining on camera about not having the correct protective gear (she said she was wearing a "garbage bag") while the cameras also showed another hospital worker wearing ski goggles to protect her.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

The government has had months to get ready and have failed us. Hopefully after this is over they will get rid of the oyaji who run the ministries and replace them with young and smarter people. Japan has to change or this kind of incompetance will continue for ever

23 ( +23 / -0 )

The crisis has already arrived at Eiju General Hospital, a pink, 10-story building in Taito Ward, Tokyo, which has reported 140 cases of COVID-19 in the past two weeks. Of those, at least 44 are doctors, nurses and other medical staff.

You have got to be kidding me. 44 medical staff infected. Well according to some JT reader's comments I guess it is because they are wearing bin bags for protection like those in Italy.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Can we please replace our PM with the Hokkaido governor Naomichi Suzuki? I think Hokkaido did a really good job with early and decisive measures that seemed to really do the trick in keeping the spread of the virus low.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

More than 60 patients with the virus are still being treated inside. One person who was transferred to another hospital infected others, according to health officials in Tokyo's Taito ward.

Not surprised to see the cross contamination at hospitals here as the Ministry of Health did absolutely nothing to prepare doctors for this!

Pure negligence ...

15 ( +16 / -1 )

japan-fail.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I hope hospital’s are reviewing patients to see if there could be sent home a little early. My Mother-in-Law broke her arm a little while back, she was in hospital for 2 months. This was an option so she did not have to keep coming back for outpatient treatment.

A few years back, my FiL was in for two weeks for testing for diabetes that could have done as an outpatient.

There was an article a couple of days ago saying that the guideline is to admit everyone with certain infectious diseases, for which Covid-19 qualifies. Japan is only testing those with advanced symptoms and people who've been in contact with these people. I don't know what this means for the average person found to be positive, but the bias sounded like it was toward admitting people, not toward getting people to self isolate at home.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Most cases are mild or without symptoms, and they stay at home or designated hotels for quarantine.

Meanwhile severely ill patients need beds, equipment for care. To date there are only 70 in Japan, of whom 22 are in Tokyo.

https://toyokeizai.net/sp/visual/tko/covid19/en.html

1000 beds for 22! In the past few weeks, daily inputs are max. 4-5 patients, a fairly stable figure with no spike. Furthermore, there is also a reduction either by death or by discharge/recovery. So we have enough amounts of beds for serious patients.

Where's Nori? He has fallen strangely silent.

I think that Zichi shared the site below. It has excellent info on the number of bed available for infectious disease patients in Japan. According to the site, Tokyo is now at 138% occupancy. Kyoto is at 244%. Kanagawa is at 254%.

https://www.stopcovid19.jp/#en

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Where are my naysayers at? How are they going to twist the facts this time, I wonder.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

The government was and still is acting way too late.

And even the measures they're trying to impose right now are mostly voluntarily.

What good does it do if people don't follow those so-called rules.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Already running out, at this early stage in the game? All the deaths and time that other countries bought Japan is all for naught. It's really not the time to begin deliberating or making committees to investigate the problem which is unfortunately the Japanese way to manage a crisis. As others in the medical profession have been saying for months, it's time for drastic, bold and decisive action. Knock, knock Abe....anyone home?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Retro active, denial rather then proactive. It's a cultural thing untill fesies hits the fan. The only time Japan has progressed is after a disaster. Being a half glass full person I can only hope things will improve after the government managed disaster.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

The chickens are finally coming home to "rock the boat". Now covid-19 will do what viruses do: cull the population. Abe's foolish calculations were governed by purely economic considerations (Olympics), but it now looks like he has lost his chips: the ruling clique's reckless gamble will be paid off with human lives. After the pandemic has run its course, there should be a thorough investigation into the inaction of the Japanese government, but no previous scandals surrounding the Japanese government's devious dealings were ever resolved to the satisfaction of the victims and their families, for "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Sounds like much the same mess as we have in the United States, totally unprepaired. The moment I saw the mess developing in China, I knew to prepare as best as any one person could. I expected my government to be unprepared. I expected the shortages in medical gear, protective gear, virus test kits. I expected the lock down of business, with the economic chaos. My United States government did not care, after all it might upset the stock market. You see here in the United States the cost of the government being unprepared for disaster, even with several months of warning in advance. At this stage we can only ride out the disaster and see how we survive. Once again my country is number one, in number of infected people and in the number of deaths from COVID 19.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The hospital may be running out of beds but Tokyo isn't.

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

How could any one expect any thing else, of course it was always going to be a massive cluster fail.

The govt here all the way from the very lowest ranking staff through to the pin brained one at the top are incapable of organizing or planinng for anything.

We all saw how they handld the triple disaster in 2011, the mismanagement, mistakes, lies, coverups still continue today over it.

So for anyone to think the J Govt would have properly prepared for this virus and have some care and diligence are obviously living in disney land and not japan.

So all you can do is to take care of yourselves, protect yourself, dont put yourself ina position where the may become exposed to the virus, if you do then Abe Koike will be there for you , You can Be Sure Of That ..................

9 ( +9 / -0 )

tinawatanabe

The hospital may be running out of beds but Tokyo isn't.

Very true. Indeed, Tokyo isn't running out of beds. It's already over capacity, at 137.8%.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

@Bruce

About 80% bed occupants are mild or without symptoms. From this week they are already moving out to go home or to hotels for quarantine.

Tokyo to move some COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms to hotel

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/04/06/business/tokyo-move-covid-19-patients-mild-symptoms-hotel/#.XovGLdL7TIU

To date, 79 serious patients nationwide need beds and equipment for care at hospital. They are all fully accommodated. There have been for months no spike in this figure, daily average ins are 2-3, besides some outs (dead or alive/discharged).

https://toyokeizai.net/sp/visual/tko/covid19/en.html

Should it be to catch up or "copy-cat" NY outbreak pattern. Japan would require a 100 times exponential increase within a single week, say 10,000 confirmed cases per day. The latest in Tokyo are 143, then down to 83. Disappointed? :) Japan's death toll is low. If you still insist on low autopsy theory, fine; adding all recent "dubious deaths" to the death toll, it wouldn't reach those of Italy, Spain, or US.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

@tinawatanabe:

The hospital may be running out of beds but Tokyo isn't.

This is exactly the attitude that lead straight into the current situation.

Ignore the facts and hope for the best.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japanese leadership has failed, and continues to do so, at practically every senior level. Responsibility for mitigating the virus is still being delegated to individual provinces, institutions, and individual Japanese. Nowhere is there to be seen a coordinated effort to combat this virus.

The Japanese government’s behaviour has been nothing short of outrageous.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This report seems quite contradictory to yesterday’s report of Koike boasting about securing a thousand beds. So, which one is it? Do they have the facilities and equipment to deal with the outbreak, or not?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I remember when this all first happened we were constantly told

Exactly take everything with a rock of salt. News being filtered to be palatable is supposedly kindness.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

After the pandemic has run its course, there should be a thorough investigation into the inaction of the Japanese government

Should but there won’t be. That’s quite optimistic. I don’t see that at all.

They will give speeches on how the strong will of the people conquered the virus and will be able to overcome all challenges in the future with cooperation.

Then make a T-shirt: One Heart

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Do the hustle

This report seems quite contradictory to yesterday’s report of Koike boasting about securing a thousand beds. So, which one is it? Do they have the facilities and equipment to deal with the outbreak, or not?

Beds are guaranteed by moving out those mild patients to hotels.

In Tokyo to date (6.4), 1,034 hospitalised, of whom 1,007 are with mild symptoms to be discharged; means 1,000 beds go vacant. The rest 27 seriously ill patients stay in beds for care at hospitals.

https://stopcovid19.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Too many bed-blockers, not only in Japan but in most countries. A japanese friend's mum who had a non serious fall has been in hospital since early February. In the UK the elderly who live alone seem to be able to stay in hospital for 6 months at a time, released and back in again a week later. That's not what hospitals were built for.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As I've commented before people living in Tokyo must wonder about its city's preparedness for even a minor earthquake.

Tokyo and Japan as a nation have been in a seemingly advantageous position to observe what happened originally in Wuhan, four hours from Tokyo, the Diamond Princess situation and the opportunity to work with its nearest neighbor South Korea when it had its major outbreak of coronavirus through that church back in February.

In addition surely a massive city like Tokyo would have thrashed out some disaster and medical emergency scenarios in regards to the Olympics that were originally due to be held around 14 weeks from now.

Also the use of hotels should have been used for Japanese people returning in their thousands over the past month. They should have been forced not urged into 14 days of quarantine as guests of the government and not allowed to get onto public transport and go home.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

To date, 79 serious patients nationwide need beds and equipment for care at hospital. They are all fully accommodated. There have been for months no spike in this figure, daily average ins are 2-3, besides some outs (dead or alive/discharged).

There are 79 patients in critical condition, not 79 patients occupying beds.

The number of occupied bed is far higher, hence these PROFESSIONAL organizations' urgent pleas for more resources.

There has been an 18.5% increase in the number of COVID patients in serious condition in the past week and a 52% increase in the past two weeks according to the data Toyo Keizai. What numbers are we going to be looking at a week from now? A month from now? It might just be better to have a surplus of supply rather than a shortage.

Disappointed?

Yes. I'm disappointed in the government's response. As a long time resident, I have a deep affection for Japan, but that doesn't mean that I should not point out the government's missteps.

And how about those 50,000 ventilators?

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Running out of beds and equipment? I thought the pandemic in Tokyo was just beginning? I guess someone hasn't been telling the truth.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Phil. Your mother in law stayed in the hospital for two months with a broken arm! If Japan does that for other patients and with the demand on the system with covid patients, the hospitals will be overflowing in no time.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan has only a small fraction of the number of cases reported by its neighbors China and South Korea.

Has because it is not testing.

Even an elementary school kid would know that.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Tokyo = the next New York City

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Still people are pretending everything is fine and the virus is not a problem.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Turn Athlete's village into a makeshift hospital. Virus can't survive on surfaces long enough for athletes to contract it. Sure, some developers will freak out knowing retail value is down at the expense of lives, but the athletes won't care. Why isn't Subaru or Toyota making respirators?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

What no real plans in place? But, I saw all those pictures of Abe and Aso with their arms folded and eyes closed at those meetings. The fake sleeping didn't get results?

13 ( +13 / -0 )

It is little too late...After the Olympic was postponed the govt just start to tackle this virus

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The latest in Tokyo are 143, then down to 83. Disappointed? :)

You everyone knows perfectly well the decrease is due to the testing centres being closed on Sunday ...even the TV programs comment on it widely. Btw..using another handle after being banned again..and yet still notspeakingwisdom our califriend.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

On Friday, a non-profit organization that offers developmental aid abroad, said it would build a makeshift hospital with 1,200 beds by the end of April in a bayside shopping district of Tokyo.

The fact that it has come to the point where non-profit organizations are the ones to take responsibility is just mortifying.

Why Japan has not setup any real emergency plans, medical equipment procurement plans, testing schemes etc. puzzles me. What has the government's coronavirus task force been doing up until now?

Regarding testing, Germany has recently ramped up its testing to 500,000 a WEEK! They are literally walking door to door to test people in their homes. In Korea they've setup temporary testing stations throughout Seoul where you can walk in from the street to get a test. Japan has tested around 40000 people since January...

Without data, it is impossible to understand the scale of the problem and thus impossible to conclude whether any measure taken is having the desired effect. It is genuinely scary to think about it.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

I literally saw a thousand kids this morning walking to an opening ceremony at a Jr. high school.

What the hell is going on here? Is this real life? How are people this stupid?

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Several doctors said they had been told not to discuss the capacity of their hospitals with the media.

That is called censorship.

It is against human rights if concerning general health conditions.

And media not doing their job to get the real info is part of the problem.

Japan should be doing better.

Politicians in view of their age are goi'g to fall naturally, no exception.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Japan has to avoid the below situation. The death toll of US may be much higher than the official report.

Mark D. Levine

It’s not just deaths in hospitals which are up. On an average day before this crisis there were 20-25 deaths at home in NYC. Now in the midst of this pandemic the number is 200-215. Every day.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Not news. Anyone could have predicted this. Triage, not treatment is the government policy. You have to wonder whether there will ever be an accurate number of deaths reported.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

3 months and trillions. Reform is needed.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Many foreigners suspect the death toll, however, our favorite Dr. Iwata said it is difficult to hide the deaths caused by the novel virus because the pneumonia deaths with unknown cause are checked strictly. (This is his opinion, so, I'm not sure whether it's correct or not.)

And the supporting rate of Abe is about 40% and there are so many enemies to him in Japan, including the doctors and nurses. If hiding something, they are willing to post it in SNS. But we can't find it.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Even as other countries have locked down borders and ramped up testing, Japan appeared to have side-stepped the kind of mass infections seen elsewhere - an effect some experts say was mostly due to a lack of testing. In the early stages of the epidemic, Japan was also weighing whether to postpone the Summer Olympics, a decision that eventually came in late March.

So now this is being openly admitted? It’s simply criminal!!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

and there is virtually no distance education system in place in Japan why don't TV networks have distance learning all day long?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

why not put all the facilities made for the Olympics to use - turn them into clinics and so forth

1 ( +2 / -1 )

How can this be possible unless no preparations were made. It's not like this wasn't around 3 months ago and doesn't take a medical scientist to figure the course of where things were headed? Meanwhile there are those front line employees out there who are improperly equipped by their managers and executives facing and working within a 2 foot rule with people daily. Other countries have reported major supermarket chains are beginning to report their first coronavirus-related employee deaths, leading to store closures and increasing anxiety among grocery workers as the pandemic intensifies across their country. Simply put the industry they work in is considered nonessential businesses to close and residents do not stay home to stem the spread of the virus, supermarkets are among the retailers that remain open. Thousands of grocery employees have continued to report to work as infections and death rates continue to climb, with many reporting long shifts and extra workloads to keep up with spiking demand. Dozens of grocery workers have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent weeks.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Running out of beds already? This is not good.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Many foreigners suspect the death toll, however, our favorite Dr. Iwata said it is difficult to hide the deaths caused by the novel virus because the pneumonia deaths with unknown cause are checked strictly. (This is his opinion, so, I'm not sure whether it's correct or not.)

And the supporting rate of Abe is about 40% and there are so many enemies to him in Japan, including the doctors and nurses. If hiding something, they are willing to post it in SNS. But we can't find it.

This kind of thing is ignored here as JT users want their conspiracy theories to be correct at all costs.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

macvToday 03:07 pm JST

why not put all the facilities made for the Olympics to use - turn them into clinics and so forth

If I'm not mistaken, Japan (Tokyo) has one of the highest number of hotels in the world. They are better spread all over the city...and it might be some love hotels have already some 'hospital theme' rooms ;-)

Seriously, all will not be suited for intensive care but many can be used for less seriously ill patients who need serious care but not to be incubated. In Netherlands and many other EU nations hotels are already used for this purpose with good succes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is not the time to do polemics.

Health care people have been infected.

Everyone must do its part to relief as much as possible the coming hospital crisis, for the health care people and for the ones in the need of health support (cancer, urgent surgery, ...)

Stay home and stay safe!

Political stuff can, and will be dealt later.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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