Nurses take care of a patient inside Seibu Hospital's ICU in Yokohama. Photo: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File
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Caught off-guard by scant testing, Japan battered by COVID winter

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By Ju-min Park and Rocky Swift

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From the start, Japan has done fewer tests than other major economies, focusing on infection clusters and virus tracing.

So the virus was spreading amongst the general population and nobody noticed.

Think about that... especially the last 2 words.

-22 ( +13 / -35 )

Plenty of people noticed but Japan is a top down society. Those at the top, able to make decisions just did not have a clue.

When doctors only had the ‘internet’ as a source of information, the proliferation of mass infections was allowed to progress.

36 ( +38 / -2 )

From the start "ordinary" people were saying test, test but the old men in charge were focussed on an athletic week, a sports day. And after all this time still no testing untill you are almost dead. Then if you did die and weren't tested before death there was no Virus. That's why low numbers it's a paperwork thing.

50 ( +55 / -5 )

Caught off guard my butt! The lack of testing was by conscience decisions being made to keep overall numbers of positive tests down! (Olympics....)

It continued as policy! No testing-no virus!

56 ( +58 / -2 )

The slow pace of testing was intention al to keep numbers down to make Japan look good. Now, Japanese people are learning the hard way that they are not special.

49 ( +54 / -5 )

Caught off guard? More like, ignored the consequences of being unprepared for the inevitable.

36 ( +37 / -1 )

Caught off guard? Yabaru exactly how can you be caught off guard after a year. Just through greed and a healthy dose of stupidity. Both of which are Suprisingly prerequisites for government, bueuracrat positions, guessing this new expert Pannel will be disbanded again and replaced with expert teenage idols, and several people in mascot suits.

28 ( +29 / -1 )

Japan battered by COVID winter

Japan's Covid problems have to be understood as a dynamic made up of many different elements. One important one, perhaps the most important, a failure on the part of Japanese leadership, especially those in the LDP and Keidanren to take needed steps to slow its spread.

Nurses take care of a patient inside Seibu Hospital's ICU in Yokohama.

Respect to all medical personnel continuing to put themselves at risk while having to hear people demean them, say they don't deserve anything more than their regular salary, and especially hear people continue to say 'nothing but another flu'.

18 ( +21 / -3 )

Hitoshi Oshitani, who has guided the virus response, said increased testing, while important, could overwhelm hospitals.

Without the clear subsequent course of action or support for people testing positive (PCR, at around 70% accuracy), a mass testing blitz ends up being futile or even counter-productive. Under Japan's current healthcare capacity, many are likely to receive almost the same instruction and treatment, regardless of their testing results: self-quarantine at home or designated place. Thus no matter how voluntary or proactive for testing you are, that wouldn't guarantee you and your neighbors better, quicker treatment or better protection. It'd also be a waste of money if you are to take one or more at private clinic.

Testing itself can't save lives. It is not meant for a peace of mind. Increasing healthcare service capacity and readiness should be the current top priority (or should have been so earlier, prior to the third wave, as I've been stressing this point since last spring).

-15 ( +3 / -18 )

Japanese government was not positive in increasing PCR tests from the beginning. I guess private hospitals and clinics (80% of Japanese hospitals) are against it strongly in fear of their business will go out when corona patients are allowed to visit their hospitals to receive PCR tests. Other patients will not come to visit them.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

cricky:

Caught off guard? Yabaru exactly how can you be caught off guard after a year.

Exactly. They've had close to one year. You'd think they would have learnt some lessons from that Yokohama cruise ship disaster or even looking at how authorities dealt with the situation in HK, Taiwan, China and South Korea. Or even 'poor, money-strapped' Vietnam. But no, just urging people to do this, keeping the number of tests low à la Trump, prioritizing the Olympics, and basically putting their heads in the sand and asking people to eat cake while politicians themselves were enjoying dinner parties.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Caught off guard yeah right might like caught out but useless politicians that put their own agenda before the people.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Still, the lack of data coordination doesn't cast doubt on Japan's reported infections, experts say, as those who test positive in private clinics are believed to follow instructions and report results at public health centers.

I don't believe that for a minute. Just a few days ago there was a report on how workers at private clinics are abused by people who test positive and they tell them they have to report the information to the local health center. The report said many of them just walk out and do nothing about it. Thus the numbers are skyrocketing!

26 ( +26 / -0 )

The government is an absolute disgrace. The Japanese people need to wake up to the fact that their government is largely a hopeless bunch of out of touch old men who clearly put self interest over the best interests of the people.

30 ( +30 / -0 )

Believe it or not, Japan's test positivity rate is not much different than in other countries. Check for yourself:

https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-data. Compare it with other G7 countries. Japan is in the middle of the pack.

It's only in Tokyo where the positivity rate is higher than normal.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

Believe it or not,

Not.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

“The health ministry said it does not have the authority to require testing centers to share data, but would consider ways to compile private results.”

Then what good is the Health Ministry?????Unbelievable...

Make testing free for anyone who wants it, beef up your contact tracing capabilities, have a co-ordinated national approach with all prefectures on board and keep people updated with timely information.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

The J-government geriatrics in too much of a hurry to get to the Olympics lost their way, missed all the signs and red lights, took their hands off the steering wheel and then put their foot on the accelerator instead of the brake. Now it's looking like a slow-motion multi-vehicle car crash that will get us into hospital, not the stadium. Now Tokyo's new slogan will have to be "2022 or bust!"

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Austpaul you must be new to Japan, there are too many interests involved to ever do anything for the public in anyway. Pride in sacrifice is the mantra.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Believe it or not, Japan's test positivity rate is not much different than in other countries.

So as so many people have been saying for almost a year now, the more you test, the more positives you’ll find. The current daily number in Tokyo is about 1,500 - but test 60,000 people and the number will be multiples of that. It’s common sense.

Finding the positive cases means you have the best chance of stopping the spread or minimising it to clusters. Not finding positive cases allows it to spread more. It’s common sense.

Japan has been in denial about this for a year. As a result it’s going to be extremely difficult to change attitudes and behaviour patterns that have been allowed to become the norm.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

STOP

THE

STIGMA

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Just a few days ago there was a report on how workers at private clinics are abused by people who test positive and they tell them they have to report the information to the local health center. The report said many of them just walk out and do nothing about it. Thus the numbers are skyrocketing!

This above. The Japan Inc./Gov response of bailing out financials and big corporations and leaving workers to fend for themselves with no support and continue coming into work is why many will risk concealing positive test results or hiding symptoms.

Japan has been lucky so far in that the populace has a low rate of certain co-morbidities but it is hard to point to anything it has done well in its' pandemic response.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

A huge mess that is taking a toll on Japan’s credibility.

I’ve have lost count of the number of people that I saw being transferred to other countries for work since this all started.

Most of these people do not mind being in places where number of cases is higher, as long as there is transparency and actions being taken.

And I am referring to highly skilled individuals.

Losing top talented individuals will keep happening as unfortunately many do not feel safe anymore in Japan, amongst this mess, lack of transparency and inaction.

Sad but true.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

So the virus was spreading amongst the general population and nobody noticed.

Think about that... especially the last 2 words.

Everyone noticed, genius. Just because you wrote two words does not make them true.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@Cricky

No, I live back in Australia but lived up there for many years a long time ago. Still a regular traveller up there though. It’s just frustrating reading about this, lack of binding health legislation and the overall glacial pace of change in Japan.

Japan is lauded for their technological prowess and efficiency of transportation systems but this needs to translate to crisis management. Like here I hope this pandemic is a wake up call for Japan to improve things so they are better prepared for future incidents.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Japan officially conducts around 55,000 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests daily, less than half of capacity, according to government data compiled from public health centers and other institutions.

The data doesn't include private clinics, which have been doing PCR tests since last spring. The lack of coordinated data makes it difficult to grasp the real scope of testing and formulate strategies, experts including Yoshihito Niki of Showa University Hospital say.

The health ministry said it does not have the authority to require testing centers to share data, but would consider ways to compile private results.

WTF? If you test positive (or negative) at a private clinic, it doesn't get counted?

These may be "private" facilities, but the vast majority of their patients pay the largest chunk of the bill using public health insurance. The government has plenty of leverage to use here.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The health ministry said it does not have the authority to require testing centers to share data, but would consider ways to compile private results.

J-gov: send me a fax with all your data!

clinic: err we don’t use fax anymore what’s your email?

J-gov: what’s an email ??

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Without the clear subsequent course of action or support for people testing positive (PCR, at around 70% accuracy), a mass testing blitz ends up being futile or even counter-productive.

RT-PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 are known to be highly specific (ranging from 92% to 100%) and moderately sensitive (ranging from 68% to 100%). (1)

When interpreting results of a RT-PCR test for COVID-19, clinicians do not worry about false positive results as the test is highly specific, but they worry about false negative results since the test is only moderately sensitive.

If the pre-test probability is high (due to high local prevalence values, potential exposure to the virus, existence of symptoms, etc.), a negative RT-PCR test result is not enough to rule out infection, on the other hand, a positive RT-PCR test result is most likely correct.

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_testing#PCR-based_test

(2) Interpreting a covid-19 test result

https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1808

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's only in Tokyo where the positivity rate is higher than normal.

Well that's a relief, given that Tokyo is some obscure village of no significance.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The majority of the hospitals are owned and run by private medical companies. They refused to take Covid-19 victims.

All major hospitals should have made provisions for testing and admitting Covid-19 victims.

Shortage of healthcare workers.

The world was on notice from a year ago that the pandemic was happening.

Slow roll out of any vaccination program. In the UK, 3 million vaccinated and 8 million in America.

300,000 cases. 4500 deaths.

The cost to the country runs into many trillions.

Japan financed the cost of the economic damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake that hit the Tohoku region in March 2011. The government devised a two-year special corporate tax, while individuals need to pay extra income tax until 2037, securing about ¥10 trillion.

But this time, the spending spree over the coronavirus measures is somehow not raising a red flag. After introducing the first and second relief packages, both worth ¥117 trillion, the Cabinet approved the third extra budget to finance a ¥73.6 trillion stimulus package last month.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Caught off guard!

Are you having a laugh.

Just incompetent

18 ( +18 / -0 )

“In another week, the health system will collapse”.

Yawn......

been hearing the same thing for a year,

the medical system is so stretched, over 90 percent of hospitals don’t feel the need to accept corona virus patients.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

I work in the healthcare field. Here’s the problem, we are testing people for any strain of a Coronavirus. Not specifically for COVID-19. There are no reliable tests for a specific COVID-19 virus. There are no reliable agencies or media outlets for reporting numbers of actual COVID-19 virus cases. This needs to be addressed first and foremost. Every action and reaction to COVID-19 is based on totally flawed data and we simply can not make accurate assessments

This is why you’re hearing that most people with COVID-19 are showing nothing more than cold/flu like symptoms. That’s because most Coronavirus strains are nothing more than cold/flu like symptoms. The few actual novel Coronavirus cases do have some worse respiratory responses, but still have a very promising recovery rate, especially for those without prior issues.

The ‘gold standard’ in testing for COVID-19 is laboratory isolated/purified coronavirus particles free from any contaminants and particles that look like viruses but are not, that have been proven to be the cause of the syndrome known as COVID-19 and obtained by using proper viral isolation methods and controls (not the PCR that is currently being used or Serology /antibody tests which do not detect virus as such). PCR basically takes a sample of your cells and amplifies any DNA to look for ‘viral sequences’, i.e. bits of non-human DNA that seem to match parts of a known viral genome.

The problem is the test is known not to work.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Its been a year, I wouldnt say caught offguard, more like they grew complacent.

The other countries who have been in far worse situations and are experiencing it again or worse are those i might call caught offguard

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Who could have predicted? Guess the govt was spending all its time preparing for the Olympics...

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The death toll, now at 4,315, is one of the lowest among developed nations and around 1% of that of the United States.

With pre and postmortem testing so low any data released lacks accuracy.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

They kept the numbers down to keep then Olympic Games .... people see right through it ! Money over people’s lives !

9 ( +11 / -2 )

The health ministry said it does not have the authority to require testing centers to share data, but would consider ways to compile private results.

Big fat lie, they don't have authority my big toe. Yeah, I don't have authority to tell my kids to be home early after school,

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Stats prove that Japan is doing fantastic!

-19 ( +1 / -20 )

The arrogance of those at the top, pushing for the OLYMPICS is now showing the ignorance of this choice. Money and being in the limelight, how's that working for you now? Your running out of money and your definitely in the limelight, JAPAN could have been way ahead of this had they tested more than 10 people a day, Only way you get a consensus now is to test the whole population, probably close to 50% Positive at that Ill bet.

Caught off guard LOL Thats a good one!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

It is interesting to learn all readers really like debating. More than anything else, I personally believe the most important thing is that you do a regular routine. Wear masks. Wash hands and gargle. And stay away from crowded area.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

To me, the mainstream media here bears the bulk of the blame, they have been busy fanning nationalism rather than calling out the governmen and shunned experts that are critical of the virus approach, All they have been doing is fanning national pride comparing Japan's low numbers with countries that cases are high. The rising numbers are due to complacency created by the media,

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Only way you get a consensus now is to test the whole population, probably close to 50% Positive at that Ill bet.

Wow

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Pay rise for health workers, I say. Free testing, JDF pop up hospitals. What's so difficult?

Ohhhh the LDP.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Caught off-guard by scant testing, Japan battered by COVID winter......

Hold the press, not so quick.

The Japanese people are fully aware of the dangers.

In my experience, I rarely witness in my local community, shops and supermarkets, people not fully compliant to masking up, and strict social distancing.

I have taken to wearing a mask when leaving home.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

@drlucifer

That's a good point!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Wonder why that nurse has a St. Marianna Hospital shirt on? Helping out at Seibu Hospital because there aren't enough nurses?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

itsonlyrocknroll

my experience, I rarely witness in my local community, shops and supermarkets, people not fully compliant to masking up, and strict social distancing.

Read an article a while back some poll conducted, pointed out that most only mask up because they don't want to be construed as the one nail, essentially saving face to strangers! Otherwise they wouldn't worry about it, their group culture over thinking for yourself is what you see happening.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

So why not start now? Just because the New Year holidays are over doesn't mean Japan won't see another spike. Caught off guard? Psssh. More like putting money into the Olympics trumped Covid-19 testing.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It's like a collection of the LDP's Greatest Hits:

''Caught off-guard

missed opportunities

missteps that hampered its response

authorities were slow

Japanese government underestimated the potential impact

winter surge was all too predictable

months too late

too slow to prepare''

15 ( +16 / -1 )

There are plenty of hospitals in Japan don’t be fooled. Those hospitals just are ducking there head like a coward and doesn’t want anything to do with COVID . Basically telling the public it’s not our problem or responsibility.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The private company medical hospitals receive taxpayer money from the government and must be regulated to operate just has a state hospital does.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

How can anyone be 'caught off guard' after a year? This might have as well been a headline last February.

@drlucifer

Definitely. There's also the fact that media are businesses and, especially on TV, presenting the mantra that 'our people are better than everyone else' does well if public opinion is already shaped by nationalist education.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

In my experience, I rarely witness in my local community, shops and supermarkets, people not fully compliant to masking up, and strict social distancing.

I see it on a daily basis in Yokohama, tokyo, and Chiba.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Leaders who doesn't want to decide because they are too afraid to be blamed - this is Japanese Culture.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

From the start, Japan has done fewer tests than other major economies, focusing on infection clusters and virus tracing

Haven't seen anything of this. The whole system is flawed

1) There is no requirement for people to use contract tracing apps as in other countries, so the uptake and usage is low. Likewise the effectiveness in contact tracing is in direct proportion to the usage.

2) The testing is fragmented and uncoordinated. There is no central database of tests and results.

3) Mass testing is not taking place. They only have the limited test results of people displaying symtoms who have been through a government testing faciltiy to go on.

4) Even if someone is tested positive with Covid, there is no requirement for people to report their results, and with the way people are, many wouldn't.

5) I have yet to hear of contract tracers actively and pre-emtively calling potential contacts as in other countries. How the hell would you do that if an infected individual took a train down one of the main lines and spend 10 minutes walking through the rabbit warren that is Shinjuku St.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Finding the positive cases means you have the best chance of stopping the spread or minimising it to clusters. Not finding positive cases allows it to spread more. It’s common sense.

Then why is it that many other countries/cities conducting mass testing programs fail to stop the spread, fail to save many lives, say by ten times and above larger than that of Japan? Your strategy has empirically been denied. Without increasing and upgrading healthcare resources and responding capacity, the discovery of more positive cases would only lead to overwhelming the medical system or leaving patients/virus carriers short of proper treatment. Besides, false results would give people a wrong instruction for subsequent course of action.

This is particularly the case when the virus is going "at large", transmitted deeper into community. I see NZ, Vietnam and Taiwan as exceptional in this regard, as they have yet to experience larger community transmission; under such clean condition at default, a testing blitz does work effectively, for the total number of virus carriers are so small and traceable that target people are fully taken care of within local healthcare capacity.

Make no mistake, I never oppose a mass testing program itself. I'm here stressing it is not yet the current priority for Japan. Much more else should be done first in order to make mass a mass testing successful. My view is shared among other experts.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I like the "caught off guard" part. When you choose to put your head in a hole in the ground, in the sand, you simply canNOT be surprised when the thing you were hiding from finds you. You also can't blame the hole. YOU are to blame.

If they are THIS incompetent and "couldn't have seen this coming" and were caught off guard, it's time to take away major security risks like the Olympics Games and other things. Excuse time is LONG over, people.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Battered? Caught off guard?

Japan is doing really well. The number doesn't lie.

The best by far among G7 nations, the most affluent and developed nations in the world.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

Caught off-guard by scant testing, Japan battered by COVID winter

Japan has not been caught off-guard. Japan has been caught out by plain downright arrogance, with a sense of superiorty and immunity.

This coupled with incompetence, complacency, by pigheaded bureaucrats (remember Japan has no real leadership, only a bureaucratic system), of whom have a culture of "everything is under control" when it's blatantly obvious that it is'nt under control. These bureaucrats have no accountabilty and rarely accept responsibility.

To add to this woeful dossier of ineptitude, there is the greed factor which has surrounded the Tokyo Olympics.

Japan is always on-guard to anything "alien". But this is a new situation that Japans bureaucrats has'nt dealt with before. Headless chickens.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Not caught off guard. Its the Olympics. Japan has one arm tied behind its back in fighting COVID19. If it weren’t for the Olympics, the government could have done better.

The Japanese will honor its commitment at all costs because that’s just the way they are or there’s no concept of cut your losses but it’s the former imo. The Olympics are a curse.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Caught off-guard?

....really...?

It doesn't take much to realize low testing rate and slow actions from the government is a recipe for disaster...

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Hospitals are NOT in the health-care business; they are in the profit-making business.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Lol caught off guard?? They always were off guard as the intentionally allowed the virus go even more viral in the name of go eat, goto travel. Goto trouble. Forgot about you’re health they want Olympic. There you have it in a nutshell

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The health ministry said it does not have the authority to require testing centers to share data, but would consider ways to compile private results.

This is so damn annoying to read. I've heard this from other government agencies before and wonder what the freaking purpose is of their existence. If they have no legal authority to do jack squat then give them legal authority at once, or remove them from existence. And PUNISH those idiots in charge who came up with the idea of not giving govt bodies that legal authority.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The government cannot mandate private hospitals to take in virus patients and many say they are unable to, according to a health ministry survey.

Can't mandate hospitals to take patients.

Can't get data from private clinics.

Can't implement a real lockdown.

Can't fine people for breaking rules (except now they're saying maybe they can, if they change the law).

Considering how authoritarian and undemocratic the Japanese government system can seem at times, it's kinda unbelievable that apparently the government can't do anything. It doesn't seem to stop them in other situations.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

What one's supposed to do AFTER having a test result (and regardless of any test result) is far more important to save many lives and prevent the virus spread. Unfortunately the Japanese government seems ignorant, lax or irresponsible in multiple levels for this post-testing strategy.

No matter how fast positive cases are found though a mass testing program, such efforts are ruined so long as people receive no bed, no place for quarantine; or have a chance to breach anti-virus rules. A negative test result doesn't give an indulgence as you could still be subject to infection in the future...unless well-vaccinated.

"Testing, testing" is thus almost meaningless without beds, med staff, effective regulations, (induced) individual behavior controls and cooperation.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Just what most people have been saying here for some time ( ^O^ )//

and throw in "Go To Travel" = Disaster

7 ( +8 / -1 )

“Pay rise for health workers, I say. Free testing, JDF pop up hospitals. What's so difficult?”

I agree with Crickey.

Oh, and small private hospitals are where we got an outbreak of sepsis just a few years ago. Many are not equipped to handle Covid. There are no protocols. But, over a certain number of beds should be possible.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I used to post a weekly virus status video online where I commented continuously on the lack of testing. I was repeatedly attacked, bullied, harangued, whatever you want to call it, by Japan Inc supporters as me over-reacting. This was from March to June last year, and then I just gave up. It wasn't worth the hassle.

To say caught off guard is ridiculous.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Everyone is reacting to the "caught off guard" headline. That makes sense if your assumption is that anyone with half a brain could see this coming long ago. But think for a minute... it's the J-Gov we're talking about here. There isn't half a brain amongst them!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Caught off-guard by scant testing, Japan battered by COVID winter

No one was "caught off-guard". Only those who are in political power has.

We had a relative 3 month break of quiet when they could've prepared for the

foreseen 2nd wave (and now this much worse 3rd one) and they did nothing.

They could've trained teachers to teach their classes online, provided subsidies to students' families who couldn't afford laptops, built emergency covid hospitals, prepared thousands of more beds and mobilized more healthcare workers.

Now look where we are.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

All figures are totally voluntary fiddled, especially number of deaths. It is like believing China had as much deaths as Japan (about 4700 against 4400 as of today).

I am talking about the order of scale.

Japan will just insert those deaths as demography evolution, kind of suits them to get rid of costing retirees.

Note this message if ever one can get later true figures about demography.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Testing 800,000 people in Hiroshima will settle it. If it is allowed to happen.

Anyway, word from Israel is that the vaccine is effective after about 14 days and infection rates among those vaccinated have dropped by as much as 60%. They have managed to vaccinate about 20% of their population - most Palestinians excluded.

I think it’s becoming clearer. The move for the Japanese government is to get as many vaccines in arms as quick as possible.

https://healthpolicy-watch.news/81148-2/

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bloomberg is keeping a running total on vaccine deployment around the world.

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is because Japanese government is in a state of denial concerning the virus. Health professionals have been warning the the cases will increase. But the desperate need to hold the Olympics is the priority with this government. Thus pretending that everything is OK brought us to where we are today...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Health professional told us not to wear mask and flu was a more serious issue back in January 2020.

Why do we still think they got it right this time with their prediction (or wild guesses?) as if they really know the answers?

Dr Fauci is a perfect example of that.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"We are in the middle of an increasing trend of cases, and I don't think it's a good time to change the testing policy," Oshitani said.

eer, no! you need loads and loads of more testing, the idea is the more people you test, as soon as that test comes back negative or positive, the positive ones will be sent home to self isolate for 10-14 days and this way they stop spreading this blasted virus around.

The government cannot mandate private hospitals to take in virus patients and many say they are unable to, according to a health ministry survey.

ok so they cant force private hospitals to take on C19 cases, but what about the normal operations? like hernias, apendix, broken bones, and other operations? ive know of 3 cases here in the UK where patiants have gone into hospital for emergency procedures and they have caught covid whilst it the hospital, then they have been sent home and transmited it to the relatives !!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If full testing is done, it will be discovered that Covid is spreading in the population, and that emergency measures must be taken. It is much cheaper not to know this, so more delay is expected.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"We are in the middle of an increasing trend of cases, and I don't think it's a good time to change the testing policy,"

And in the middle of saying they could not have known, and were caught off guard through lack of testing, etc., they decide in their infinite wisdom that they aren't going to change a thing, and then in a month when the numbers are exponential they'll say they had no idea, were caught off guard, and should not change the way things are. Then a couple months later, when it's more than 10,000 a day they'll say the could not have known, they were caught off guard, and they shouldn't change anything. This is why Japan is always three steps behind.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan officially conducts around 55,000 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests daily, less than half of capacity, according to government data compiled from public health centers and other institutions.

The data doesn't include private clinics, which have been doing PCR tests since last spring.

So they can conceivably have the 200k capacity, more than 110k from govt

I wonder how much of that capacity is accessible to hokkaido

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hiroshima is the odd one out here, with 800,000 tests coming in and for free.

 I don't think it's a good time to change the testing policy,"

what testing policy? Avoidance? Lip service to protect the Olympics? Statistics buried under layers of bureaucracy and sub contractors? Where does human life come into the discussion?

To build up scale will take months of planning and execution. It requires action to keep learning and adjusting.

Athletes bailed the first time under a lack of clear medical understanding. This does nothing to change that.

Also look at the Australia Open COVID problems. Does anyone honestly think Tokyo is prepared for anything like that, let alone 75000 people?

Put the Olympics away and start helping people

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kore Nani,

In the early stages of the pandemic, my local community did not comply to social distancing or wearing protective masks. My Home is in, Kochi.

Ino town residents seemed oblivious to the dangers ahead. Even on one occasion, when pointing out politely to a number of shoppers around me queuing at the check out, to observe the clear social distance markings, to be informed that Covid-19 is a foreign virus.

These attitudes have changed considerably.

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What excuses will we hear for them dragging their heels with the vaccine approval and roll out I wonder.

Now really isn't the best time for Japanese levels of bureaucracy.

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HBJ

Believe it or not, Japan's test positivity rate is not much different than in other countries.

So as so many people have been saying for almost a year now, the more you test, the more positives you’ll find. The current daily number in Tokyo is about 1,500 - but test 60,000 people and the number will be multiples of that. It’s common sense.

I don't think you understand what the test positivity rate means. If it is low, then it means that you are doing adequate testing. According to criteria published by WHO in May 2020, a positive rate of less than 5% is one indicator that the epidemic is under control in a country. Japan has a positive rate of less than 5%.

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I suspect the Japanese national government knows exactly what they are doing regarding PCR tests ... pretty much in line with Dr. Sam Bailey's YouTube breakdown. Haven't seen a better explanation — and this hints towards a lot of the perverse incentives behind policies.

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