There were fears it would be the ultimate superspreader event, as thousands of athletes, team chiefs, and hangers-on congregate for the world’s biggest sporting event. Even Emperor Akihito questioned the wisdom of hosting an Olympic Games during a global pandemic. But even though COVID-19 cases are continuing to surge in Tokyo, the Japanese PM is insisting that the Olympics are not to blame.
Tokyo reported 4,515 new cases on Friday, slightly down from Thursday's record 5,042. Meanwhile, there were 29 new cases reported inside the tightly cocooned Olympic “bubble,” bringing the total number of cases linked to the Games to 387. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told a press conference the Olympics were not to blame for the rise in infections. “The flow of people in Tokyo’s downtown has not increased compared to the time before the opening of the Olympics,” he said. “I don’t think the Olympics has led to the increase of infection.” The comments came the same day The Daily Beast reported that Japanese officials covered up the news of the arrival of the deadly Lambda variant in the country three days before the Olympics began.