national

Vaccines, masks? Japan puzzling over sudden virus success

58 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


58 Comments

Comments have been disabled You can no longer respond to this thread.

Cleanliness

-13 ( +29 / -42 )

Old news but a good article in case others missed it on other forums.

Thanks for posting.

14 ( +22 / -8 )

I reckon its the vaccines and the fact it's a pain in the neck to get a test here, so people with mild symptoms simply aren't bothering and just getting on with their lives. Depending on how this plays out, hopefully it means we are almost at the stage where it's safe to simply live with COVID and we can move on.

27 ( +40 / -13 )

Maybe the IOC took the virus with all of the money when they left Japan?

15 ( +26 / -11 )

Just in case I am taking this lull to stock up on masks again.

0 ( +19 / -19 )

Very simple: No testing for asymptomatic cases, high vaccination rates, and low obesity rates.

33 ( +45 / -12 )

the virus is playing a magic party trick using it’s invisibility to the human eye.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

"What is the reason behind the decline?" Seems the wrong question to be asking, it already implies there is only one reason. It's cumulative and all the tiny variables finally reached that tipping point that brought the virus crashing down. Nobody knows which was the straw that broke the camel's back, just keep adding straw and make sure he doesn't get back up. (poor camel).

10 ( +15 / -5 )

The explanation is simple. Reported cases are down because the election is coming up.

4 ( +39 / -35 )

My suspicion is, many are still carrying the virus but are not as infectious as before due to the vaccine. So in a way, people are not co-infecting each other. I've frequently visited the nearest sento even before I got inoculated but I never got infected (knock on wood) so I don't really know what miracle has prevented me from being infected (or maybe I was, but I just didn't know...) Just like everyone else, I am also puzzled.

8 ( +18 / -10 )

Almost overnight, Japan has become a stunning, and somewhat mysterious, coronavirus success story.

A bit early for a victory lap, but yes, things aren't looking too bad right now.

Probably many factors at play at once, like habitual mask wearing (albeit not perfect), smooth vaccination rollout (although not "remarkably rapid"), absence of millions of antivaxxers and conspiracy theorists, and of course the good old not-counting-private-clinics trick that makes everything look rosier.

Not really a mystery to me. It's not over yet though. Nowhere is safe unless everywhere is safe worldwide.

Cleanliness

Seriously? Is soap and hand washing exclusive to Japan? A white person saying that about their ethnicity as opposed to other ones would be justly called out immediately. Yet I keep hearing this argument here over and over.

-11 ( +19 / -30 )

More propaganda Japanese style. Test at similar levels to advanced countries before calling it a success, shall we. Even Singapore has a higher vaccination rate than Jaoan yet records over 3000 cases per day. The difference.... testing is free unlike Japan where you need to fork out a fortune.

-12 ( +27 / -39 )

The explanation is simple. Reported cases are down because the election is coming up.

This is a conspiracy theory.

The hospitals are returning to normal because there are far fewer cases of coronavirus now.

I think news outlets need to start interviewing the doctors and nurses who work with coronavirus patients; it would really benefit readers. My own conversations with these professionals reveal that there are far fewer coronavirus patients (and now far more other patients because of a rebound effect).

15 ( +30 / -15 )

blahblah222 & Tom Doley

Agree 100%

-19 ( +15 / -34 )

I think that if you had a high risk of getting Covid-19, you would have gotten it already. So its probably a combination of herd immunity, and the low hanging fruit being either vaccinated or exposed to the virus. Low obesity levels help too. But don't be fooled, 60 cases a day in Tokyo could easily jump to 100 - 500 in a few weeks.

18 ( +24 / -6 )

Cleanliness

A provocative comment. And wrong on so many levels.

-14 ( +20 / -34 )

Seriously? Is soap and hand washing exclusive to Japan? A white person saying that about their ethnicity as opposed to other ones would be justly called out immediately. Yet I keep hearing this argument here over and over.

Well said Yotomaya. I think here in Japan we have this blinkered view and it just winds up other nations. It's depressing to read really.

-10 ( +16 / -26 )

Tokyo is the most densely populated area in the world. Over 14 000 000 people eat, live and breath together everyday. If the virus is so contagious and deadly there is no way Tokyo would be able to escape it's wrath unless the vast majority of people moved out.

Masks are next to useless on packed trains, restaurants, or bars and night clubs. These "vaccines" do not prevent transmission only offer a reduction of serious illness or death. So they can't explain the dramatic fall in cases.

The truth is that Japan has successfully reached herd immunity. In general, the average Japanese person is healthy compared to other developed nations and the natural immunity that comes from exposure to the virus has practically eliminated the delta variant from the population.

11 ( +29 / -18 )

Yes well this is definitely super good news! Man this country keeps coming back whenever it gets bashed down, I’m so puzzled but so happy to live here

13 ( +22 / -9 )

Based on all of the restrictions seen across the globe, Japan has been the best country to live in during the pandemic. Freedom of movement. Freedom to socialize with any size group. Freedom to eat at restaurants and shop anywhere throughout the pandemic. More than 75% of the POPULATION has at least one dose of vaccine. That only took 4 months (health-care workers aside.) Statistically, everyone wears masks indoors and disinfect their hands multiple times a day. Now business is coming back big-time. Love it!

15 ( +26 / -11 )

This is a conspiracy theory.

Agreed. Glad we've turned the corner. It's time to ditch the masks and get back to normal life. First round's on me!

-9 ( +10 / -19 )

But people headed back to entertainment districts as soon as the recent emergency ended, he said, and that may “affect the infection situation in coming weeks.”

Already preparing a narrative in the case of the number of infections rising again.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Agreed. Glad we've turned the corner. It's time to ditch the masks and get back to normal life. First round's on me!

Normal life? I been living a normal life since COVID took the world by storm...Been tested monthly for over a year now, and been negative everytime. And this is even after traveling around. It also helps that I drive everywhere and am not on a crowded train.

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

More propaganda Japanese style. Test at similar levels to advanced countries before calling it a success, shall we. Even Singapore has a higher vaccination rate than Jaoan yet records over 3000 cases per day. The difference.... testing is free unlike Japan where you need to fork out a fortune.

Why test millions if people are not filling up the hospitals and dying by the hundreds. All massive testing does is create fear.

7 ( +20 / -13 )

Time is now spared. It's good time to review and discuss with feedback for the sake of the (unwelcome) next crisis.

Kyoto University professor Hiroshi Nishiura told a recent government advisory board meeting that he estimates vaccinations helped some 650,000 people avoid infection and saved more than 7,200 lives between March and September.

Nishiura is a leading hard-lockdown proponent whose alarmist scenarios have failed several times at key moments. Why could we possibly continue to listen to his "prophecy"? At stake are quite a lot, and it's not like a daily weather forecast!

Many experts initially blamed younger people, seen drinking on the streets and in parks when the bars were closed, for spreading the virus, but said data showed many in their 40s and 50s also frequented nightlife districts. Most serious cases and deaths were among unvaccinated people in their 50s or younger.

Have those experts ever apologized to young people, victims to their bulls--t theories and propaganda? To say fairly, there were then also some sensible experts saying the otherwise (but often came under attack of media/public hysteria).

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Masks are next to useless on packed trains, 

if you think real hard about it that's where they are most useful

22 ( +27 / -5 )

Don't forget the head of the Tokyo medical association recommend using ivermectin too recently https://www.yomiuri.co.jp/choken/kijironko/cknews/20210818-OYT8T50030/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

The same thing happened in India as well, the media talking heads were screaming about it for weeks then even with only 10% vaccinated or something very low like that it just dropped off. But of course that wasn't investigated to the same extent despite it being arguably even more important so we can know how to deal with it.

In fact I think this Japan Today article is one of the very few I've read that have acknowledged a remission without resorting to paranoid delusions so pat on back for them. I understand a concern for an unclear situation but there have never been bodies in the street like those videos from China last year. By and large the coronavirus acts, well, like a coronavirus.

We've got vaccines and treatments now if you want them. Even aspirin does something. This isn't 2020 anymore. Calm down, stop staring at your phone waiting for the latest numbers, go outside, eat well, get some sleep

8 ( +16 / -8 )

They probably just wound down the number of cycles on the PCR, say from 45 to 35, to make it less 'sensitive'. That would account for 'asymptomatic cases' (if there is such a thing) disappearing or decreasing in number.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Calm down, stop staring at your phone waiting for the latest numbers, go outside, eat well, get some sleep

I find it funny that you are outside eating staring at your phone while you typed that.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Masks are next to useless on packed trains, 

I can't say with scientific precision, but this past 18 months basically at home and using a mask in public, I cannot recall having much more than a few minor colds. I think it is common sense that a mask will protect you to some degree.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

Amazing no journalist cares talking about positivity rate or reproduction number, more realistic indicators that don't show any "drop" but a regular decrease along with the increase of vaccination.

Similar pattern in western countries.

Time to stop with the "japanese special model" with numbers cherry picked.

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

Congrats Japan!

4 ( +16 / -12 )

If other countries want to be like Japan then let the LDP run the election and the pandemic.

Your country will have fewer infections counted by making most serious cases stay home, not allowing for mild and asymptomatic people to be tested, and not performing autopsies on deceased individuals, thus, lowering the number of people who can actually be counted on the official numbers.

It is easier to manipulate official numbers with no foreign press and IOC to force them counting all infections.

-6 ( +13 / -19 )

NumanToday  05:58 pm JST

If other countries want to be like Japan then let the LDP run the election and the pandemic.

Your country will have fewer infections counted by making most serious cases stay home, not allowing for mild and asymptomatic people to be tested, and not performing autopsies on deceased individuals, thus, lowering the number of people who can actually be counted on the official numbers.

It is easier to manipulate official numbers with no foreign press and IOC to force them counting all infections.

It's also very easy to make all kinds of accusations and assumptions but not provide any evidence whatsoever to back them up.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

@Harry_Gatto

It's also very easy to make all kinds of accusations and assumptions but not provide any evidence whatsoever to back them up.

That goes both ways and applies to everyone on this post. However, my statement and some others are just more making more valid and sound claims compared to others!

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

It’s not a coincidence that the cases are falling with the upcoming elections slowly approaching. This is all a facade.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

They probably just wound down the number of cycles on the PCR,

Who are "they"?

6 ( +10 / -4 )

The answer is a combination of vaccines, almost universal mask wearing, good hygiene, those most at risk having already had the virus and "unique" Japanese-ness. By this I mean the the natural lack of social interaction in daily life compared with other countries. Trains in Japan.... silence. In the UK or Europe ... a buzz of communication. Conversations with strangers? In Japan?... All good for covid protection.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Should still stay cautious. Israel and Singapore, two very vaccinated countries, are having a resurgence of Covid. Wear your masks.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Great news. And without hard lockdowns and mandatory vaccinations. Perhaps other nations can take note.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

@GoodToday  04:30 pm JST

Cleanliness

never been in a public toilet at the same time as a native man I guess.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

Though some speculated that the drop in cases might be due to less testing

It does. But it has been like that ever since, yet the results still went down. Of course, if we also test asymptomatic cases, we will definitely find more but the question rests: why is the symptomatic cases (tested) down?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan used anti-viral drugs which cure the virus.

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

They probably just wound down the number of cycles on the PCR,

Who are "they"?

Ultimately, the WHO. According to Kyodo, Shigeru Omi is Japan's top COVID-19 adviser to the government. It's up for debate about how much influence he has, but IMHO it's a lot.

*Shigeru Omi** (born June 11, 1949) is the President of the Japan Community Health Care Organization. He previously served as Regional Director of the Western Pacific Regional Office for the World Health Organization.[1] He has been a member of the World Health Organization Executive Board since 2013.*

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shigeru_Omi

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This is all awesome, but when can we stop wearing masks? I get the feeling that we'll still have them stuck to our faces for fear of being seen as a pariah until 2024.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Last night I was watching similar success stories in Spain, were 78% of the population is vaccinated, and now people are going back to normal with their daily lives, We all remember what Spain went thru last year and it remarkably turned things around from hell to normal.

Well done Japan too, congrats.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Normal life? I been living a normal life since COVID took the world by storm...Been tested monthly for over a year now, and been negative everytime. And this is even after traveling around. It also helps that I drive everywhere and am not on a crowded train.

Agreed! Been doing the same (except the testing part). People have lost their freaking minds over the man-on-the-tv-said-so-so-it-must-be-true hype!

Interestingly, my sister is a Care Worker back in the UK and she had both jabs, collapsed in the street just 3 hours after the 2nd one, and 3 months later, was suspended from work for a month for contracting Covid! Go figure - someone best tell those vaccines to start working before the unvaccinated start spreading the virus they don't have everywhere!

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

Wife and I love these numbers so much that we just booked two more trips and hope GoToTravel hooks up so we can get a ton of coupons to support locals where we travel.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Show me any scientific proof that masks have been effective. I'll wait.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

never been in a public toilet at the same time as a native man I guess.

I see these same grubs are back to normal. No hand washing, or even an attempt to pretend. Also I've seen these grubs either 1) Removing their mask to sneeze 2) Fleming up in public 3) Spitting in the street 4) all of the above.

So the numbers we're seeing now sure is a mystery.

It's also a mystery why we still have to self isolate on arrival if returning residents are fully vaccinated.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

*People have lost their freaking minds over the man-on-the-tv-said-so-so-it-must-be-true hype!*

Go figure!

liberals

liberalism

Freaking, go figure, liberals, liberalism.

Are you sure you’re from the UK, mate?

4 ( +11 / -7 )

It's funny how people are criticizing Japan's cleanliness as if their countries are better. I've lived in four countries and studied abroad for collectively six years. I've seen guys from at least 12 different countries leave the bathroom without washing their hands.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

It's pretty obvious people are fed up and not bothering to get tested, on top of the vaccines.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Show me any scientific proof that masks have been effective. I'll wait.

You’re one of those “doing my own research” fellas eh. I think your self assigned syllabus has some serious holes.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Seeing how easily it is to corrupt the numbers, I can safely assume it’s because of the election. Soon after the election cases will drastically increase and a lockdown will be reimposed while ushering in universal basic income and carbon tax passes just announced by Davos group.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Same reason the number was WAY down until it became too late to cancel the Olympics; some big decisions on the horizon. Once it's too late to change the vote at the end of the month, we'll start seeing numbers "mysteriously" go up again. And as we know, especially here there is a huge difference between real numbers and reported numbers.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

So why the drop?

> Herd immunity and the virus has lost Integrity…

1 ( +4 / -3 )

blahblah222

The explanation is simple. Reported cases are down because the election is coming up.

The simplest explanations are often the correct ones.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites