Scramble for hospital beds in Nagoya shows coronavirus challenge for aging Japan

By Linda Sieg and Rocky Swift

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Confirmed coronavirus cases in Nagoya, the capital of Aichi Prefecture, totaled 98 as of Sunday, the official said, far exceeding the city's 27 beds at hospitals that meet conditions for patients with the highly contagious disease.

27???? Do the math, if every prefecture is in the same or similar condition, ....I do not want to even consider the consequences!

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Let's buy those respirators and ventilators now. Let's start training staff who will use them ASAP. This is a wakeup call. We can beat this thing.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said there were 12,000 beds nationwide that could take serious virus cases and 3,000 respirators, but Shibuya said that didn't mean there were trained medical staff to handle all of those cases.

Maybe we should just forget about the stupid Olympics and concentrate the entirety of the government on fixing this?

19 ( +21 / -2 )

Unfortunately & incredibly frustrating BUT it is likely once AGAIN the govt of Japan is going to let its citiens & residents down with an attempted cover up, hiding  what is really going on

And the lack of testing...….criminal negligence almost assuredly resulting in deaths to come!!!

I hope by some miracle I am wrong, SHAME, SHAME on the J-govt!!!

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Wow! Imagine if an outbreak happens during the Olympics and Japan is forced to make ethical choices with hospitals overrun with sick foreigners. Tough times coming.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Potentially, there will be a surge of new cases if Japan is not successful in containment, which I think will happen," said Kenji Shibuya, director of the Institute of Population Health, King's College, London.

> "Japan is not yet at the level of what Italy is experiencing in terms of outbreak phase, but that gives us a very important lesson - we have to be prepared," he said

This is the calm before the storm. Its not a matter of if but when.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Bummer, the only hope I had was that we hadn't seen a spike in serious it starts. Say goodbye to your elders while you can, Japan will be Italy by next week.

And Abe will still be focused on the Olympics. Maybe he'll convene a committee to seriously consider gathering more information on the virus by next month. Perhaps he'll even put expanded testing on the agenda for next year in the Diet. And of course, he will say no one could have predicted what everyone has been predicting for the last month.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Use the stupid facilities made for the Olympics to treat the ill.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

It is not uncommon in Japan for ambulances to have to telephone around several hospitals to find one that will accept a patient. Even in normal times, there are not big emergency departments will lots of empty beds and staff sitting there waiting for patients. There is little resilience in the system, for this or for a big natural disaster.

I'm from the UK and it has been reported recently that the UK has half the A&E beds of Italy. The outbreak in Italy was in the wealthy part of the country, and shows what could happen even in other wealthy countries.

9 ( +9 / -0 )


Use the stupid facilities made for the Olympics to treat the ill.

I do not think the facilities are stupid but I fully agree with you.

A very good article from the South China Morning Post praising South Korea's reply to this system. The article discusses how overly draconian measures are not being used but instead very aggressive TESTING.

The key to this according to the article is, "Instead, authorities have focused mandatory quarantine on infected patients and those with whom they have come into close contact, while advising the public to stay indoors, avoid public events, wear masks and practise good hygiene."

Japan and the Japanese people can absolutely do this but it requires the government to cooperate with the best interests of the people (not the other way around) and step up the testing.

Another bit of good news from the article is that the case mortality rate is 0.8% and it could be postulated to be less assuming not all cases are tested and caught.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Abe should just forget about Olympic. Olympic is not going to happen in July. Everyone knows it. Abe should focus his energy on helping his people coping with the virus instead of insisting keeping the Olympic held in July.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I'm in Nagoya right now. There is almost zero evidence that any level of government is taking this seriously right now, other than the school closures.

There is ZERO evidence of even basic social distancing - I watched the train jam packed with commuters going to work like usual this morning like it always does (I've switched to cycling to avoid people). Its insane.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Confirmed coronavirus cases in Nagoya, the capital of Aichi Prefecture, totaled 98 as of Sunday, the official said, far exceeding the city's 27 beds at hospitals that meet conditions for patients with the highly contagious disease.

27 beds in a a major city with millions of inhabitants ve had a couple of months to work on expanding capacity..what has Abe and the rest of the LDP govt clowns been doing apart from holding meetings?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Italy, which has Europe's oldest population, is facing growing concerns about the ability of its strained health system to cope with a relentless increase in new cases.

This is not about concerns, its about reality. We had this bullsh"t in 2011 with radiation fears, rather than radiation levels. And its not about some nebulous unattributed feelings. What we need now are clear, scientific, evidence driven opinions from experts.

Also, why are they talking about Koreas experience in the past tense, as if its a done deal? The situation worldwide is fast changing and unknowable.

And as someone with the symptoms of viral infections, and two failed attempts to get tested in the last 4 days, I can confirm that you will be blown off if you try to get tested for coronavirus, and doctors will not tell you to self isolate. And my doctor is actually really thorough and conscientious. He gave me a physical exam, X ray, ultrasound, blood, urine test, and says he thinks I probably have a viral infection, but probably not a coronavirus infection. The doctors surgery has an information sheet about how to apply for coronavirus testing, but I only know that because I happened to see it. The doctor didnt even mention it.

If you go to the doctor and ask about coronavirus, you will just give you fluffy advice. The only lockdown in Japan is a governmental one on the health service, so they can make their numbers look good. If you cant see it, its not happening.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The idea above of moving serious Covid 19 cases to other districts will only hold up for a short time. What will really happen is that nationwide, the system will be overwhelmed, as is happening in Italy, and doctors will have to decide who gets intensive care, and who is left to die. Not to mention the high death rate of health workers, who are going to be heavily exposed to the virus. This is what is happening in Iran, Italy, Spain right now, and it is days or weeks up the road for many many other countries who dont take aggressive action to slow down the outbreak. Including, as the WHO says "test, test, test". This is the best way to identify, isolate, protect, allocate resources. Ask an epidemiologist.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Be a good domesticated Japanese and stay home if you are sick. No need to go to a hospital if u think I got the virus cuz that would endanger the doctors and nurses. Praise Abe san and stay strong!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

From an article about why Italy so worse than Sth Korea

According to a UN report in 2015, 28.6% of the Italian population was 60 years old or older (second in the world after Japan at 33%). This compares to South Korea, where 18.5% of the population is at least 60 years of age, ranking 53rd globally.

The implications are clear and St Korea also has widespread testing, quarantining, lockdown etc which Japan does not

Yet despite the strong warning of what is happening in Nagoya now, Japan is in denial. Social distancing being disregarded. Schools and public places reopening. in some places A panel of "experts" on the NHK TV yesterday when asked "Can I sleep with my grandparents? and Should I have my wedding party? and Should I go to restaurants? answered YES you SHOULD!

Yes I agree with previous comment its insane.

9 ( +9 / -0 )


Also, why are they talking about Koreas experience in the past tense, as if its a done deal? The situation worldwide is fast changing and unknowable.

Just to add clarity; I do not think South Korea (or anyone) thinks for a moment that the situation there is over. One quick comment from the article I referenced:

"President Moon Jae-in, while cautioning against premature optimism, has expressed hope that South Korea could soon enter a “phase of stability” if the trend holds firm."

I am not one for the Korea vs Japan battle (I like both places and although I live in Japan have friends in Korea) however for whatever reason it seems Korea is taking this more seriously.

Japan should not wait for a Daegu type outbreak to happen and should work now to prevent it from happening.

The lack of hospital beds is truly chilling.

The leadership in Japan must be challenged on this issue.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Possible scenario, person in house has fever, asks to be tested is told NO NEED, returns home, parents or grand parents who live in the SAME house, then become infected, fever gets bad, allow testing, found +ve told no beds or respirators left...…...the die....

Can you IMAGINE how that family would take it, especially the person who was REFUSED testing!!!

THAT is what the govt is DOING to us NOW!!!!!


3 ( +5 / -2 )

The higher "challenge" as I see it is giving accurate information to the people! For example, here in Okinawa, out of 205 people tested for the virus 203 were supposedly negative. A negative result in 98.5% of all tests supposedly completed.

Japanese researchers should be taking the blood of folks down here and find out why we aint catching this darn virus and everyone else is!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Figures so small for deaths and critical cases.

Either Japanese are genitically immune or...

I can guess what the government is doing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Read somewhere that this virus doesn't like temperature s above 15C and UV light.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Yubaru - could it be the goya (which I like so much)?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan needs to start taking this virus way more seriously. That needs to start with edicating the public of it's seriousness! Lookign around Tokyo most people seem to have already relaxed back into their normal life. Places are packed.

This doesn’t sound promising at all for where we're all heading. Down right scary. Don’t like that the source is so reliable... Imperial College London:

Behind the Virus Report That Jarred the U.S. and U.K. to Action

It wasn’t so much the numbers themselves, frightening though they were, as who reported them: Imperial College London.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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