Japan Today

Alexander O'Neill comments

Posted in: 84% concerned about record coronavirus cases in Japan: poll See in context

No one is going to be convinced by anyone else's arguments here. Why do you people feel the need to debate?

Make peace with the world. Do what you think is right for yourself and have a nice day!

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Posted in: Abe ends state of emergency in Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo; Tokyo's may be lifted Monday See in context

Concerning transportation conditions, many people have brought this up as an area of concern. However, that may not be as much of an issue in Japan as elsewhere—and this may explain why there was not a surge in cases despite transportation conditions. Note that in Japan talking on trains is quite rare, and since the state of emergency, coughing has also been rare to hear on trains. Thus, the possibility for droplets and aerosols is significantly lower than might be expected. Of greater concern would be snack bars or girls bars, where people are talking or singing without masks in a closed environment. Regardless, even with masks, we know based on a few studies that the SARS-Cov2 virus is smaller than the fibres on most masks, and that they have negligible if no effect. While SARS-Cov2 is in the obvious droplets that a mask prevents spreading, it is also airborne and pays no heed to the barrier that a typical non-N95 mask would present.

I couldn't find any statistics regarding locations of infection in Tokyo. However, there is some interesting evidence from NYC in a National Bureau of Economic Research paper which shows that there is not a clear correlation between transportation lines and areas of high rates of infection. The New York State data that can be found on a CNBC article from May 6th suggests that 66% of people are getting infected while staying at home, 18% while at nursing homes, and the other areas of infection were not as statistically relevant. So primarily, people are getting this regardless of whether they're taking transportation or not. The minor interactions people have while attempting to remain in home-quarantine (be it with deliveries or short trips to the shops) are still contributing the most.

Essentially what this means is that there's very little that we can do in terms of legislation or human action to prevent the spread of the virus. Lethality depends a lot upon health and pre-existing conditions, which may be why NYC got hit so badly, since obesity and other diseases are quite common there. There are many factors that may contribute to why Japan is not exhibiting a bad outbreak—lack of serious pre-existing health conditions, BCG vaccination, pneumonia vaccination, and also the likelihood that Japan received a less-virulent strain than that which spread west. It is hard to know for certain what the best course of action to take would be, but I would say it depends mainly upon the ability to treat those who are critically ill. At the moment, with 210 critically ill cases nationally as of May 20th, and 700 ICU units available for COVID in Tokyo, in addition to thousands of extra beds acquired from hotels and so forth, it seems like we have little reason to fear. I agree that it is helpful to see a downward and sustained trend before opening, but we also have to accept that COVID is going to be with us for a few years, and as long as we can manage to treat those who are critical, we should not close down the economy.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Posted in: Noise complaints on rise in Tokyo as stay-home campaign drags on See in context

re: rgcivilian1

I agree for sure. I just don't know how long I can stick around yet. But it's definitely cheaper to buy in Japan than in Canada.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Noise complaints on rise in Tokyo as stay-home campaign drags on See in context

I must be one of the fortunate ones, with very well insulated home and soundproof walls. Private home does wonders if built to the owners specifications. It was worth the price tag and investment. Soundly sleeping at night.

It's possible to rent a decent detached house if you move far enough out of the centre of town for not much more than an apartment—for prices that simply aren't possible in the west (the same goes for buying). I'm considering doing just that.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Noise complaints on rise in Tokyo as stay-home campaign drags on See in context

The onus is on architects for improving sound absorption in Japanese apartments.

24 ( +28 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan mulls ending state of emergency in Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo prefectures See in context

Lifting the state of emergency is rash. The pandemic is still on. The reason that new cases are down is because emergency steps have been taken. Guaranteed there will be spike in new cases if the state of emergency is removed.

The state of emergency, or lockdowns elsewhere for that matter, are not in place because there is a pandemic, they are in place because they are supposed to buy space in ICUs which would otherwise be overcrowded. While in places where emergency measures have been lifted there are occasionally clusters or localised outbreaks, as in ROK, there is no evidence yet for second spikes. What everyone is aiming for is a controlled outbreak, where we can allow the virus to filter through the population that is manageable for healthcare facilities—this is the only way the virus will eventually die down; a vaccine is possible, but unlikely to come before it is no longer useful.

What would be most important, in my opinion, is keeping care homes and the elderly or those with pre-existing conditions under an essential lockdown (only if they consent of course), while allowing the rest of society to continue and get this virus that is statistically speaking going to be mostly harmless to them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Masks proving widely available despite coronavirus shortage concerns See in context

A South Korean study showed that not only does SARS-CoV-2 pass through a regular mask, but that there was plenty of virus on the outside the mask and none on the inside. So as far as the virus is concerned it appears like the mask isn't there. N95 respirators were not tested. This would go a long way to explaining why we see spread in hospitals even when medical personnel have protective gear on. The virus molecules are just too small for masks to have an effect. It's nice that people wear masks as a sign of their care for public welfare, but it's actually not going to help anyone realistically.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Many Japanese defy appeals to stay home to curb virus See in context

Clearly there has been a massive reduction in outings, and JT is being quite selective in the locations they are taking as representative of Japanese behaviour. However, it is likely people are not yet convinced that a lockdown will do anything. Having seen the peak of reported infections only four days (April 11) after the state of emergency was called and a decline ever since, there is little evidence that social distancing has had any effect, and that the peak number of actual infections and thus the beginning of herd immunity was reached about 10 days prior, i.e. around April 1st. When we have seen this year's influenza A season far outpeak the SARS-CoV-2 peaks in terms of hospitalisation, the so called expert and governmental advice on this matter is day by day appearing to lack credibility. Many people won't be convinced (and will resist with some vehemence alternative opinions as if they were mad) until the end of the summer or this year, when we can step back and see all the data in perspective, and at that time we are going to have a very serious blow dealt to the public trust in health and governmental officials, except for those who looked at things realistically.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

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