The Coronavirus The coronavirus causing major concerns regarding the 2020 Olympics
There has been a lot of news lately about the rapidly spreading coronavirus. Over 28,000 cases worldwide have now been reported and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a health emergency. According to WHO, “coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases…” The current coronavirus, first identified in China on January 7th, is known as a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
According to WHO, “common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.” The virus has killed over 1,000 people to date.
People are now becoming very anxious about what this virus means for the upcoming Olympics. The 2020 Summer Olympics are scheduled to start on July 24th in Tokyo, Japan. According to CNN, 45 cases of the coronavirus have already been identified in Japan, and health officials know that this virus is highly infectious and will spread very quickly.
Chief executive of the Olympic Organizing Committee, Toshiro Muto, said, “”I am extremely worried that the spread of the infectious disease could throw cold water on the momentum toward the Games.” Currently, the Olympics are scheduled to continue as planned, but nothing is certain considering that the safety of the athletes, organizers, and fans takes priority.
Japan is hoping to have approximately 40 million visitors, to help the country’s economy and its businesses, but this ambition seems threatened as many people may decide to stay home for fear of the virus.
There are many precautions being enforced to try to slow the spread of the virus. First, travel to China has been greatly impacted and currently most people cannot enter the country. Also, employees in Japan are being advised to work from home for a couple of weeks. Scientists are working on a vaccine, but the process is very time consuming and they don’t know how long it will take.
Saburo Kawabuchi, mayor of the Athletes Village, said, “I truly hope that the infectious disease will die down somehow so that we will be able to operate the Paralympics and Olympics smoothly.” There is a lot of uncertainty about what is going to happen in the wake of this virus, and what this means for the 2020 Olympics.