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Tokyo Olympics And COVID-19. Are The Athletes At Risk?

Tokyo Olympics formed COVID-19 measures that were created by the organizers are criticized as they turn a blind eye towards athletes vaccination status. The athletes have to practice social distancing, wear masks and maintain good hygiene, but that’s it. Even after the revelation that 103 athletes are unvaccinated, no changes have been made in the measure and no one seems worried. 

USOPC spokesperson Jon Mason said on Monday that 606 out of 709 American athletes who responded, which makes it around 85% of the total, are vaccinated, according to information in Athletes’ history forms. 

Skateboarder Alana Smith said that it was a little concerning, but if someone is allowed to choose, they can choose what they want to. She said that if people are not vaccinated, they can wear masks and stay away from other people, but in the end, everyone should be allowed to play as barring them from playing may destroy lives.

 Tokyo Olympics And COVID-19. Are The Athletes At Risk?

Taylor Crabb, an American beach football player who tested positive even after getting vaccinated, and was unable to continue and had to quit. Around 148 confirmed COVID-19 cases were announced by the International Olympic Committee, including 16 athletes, since July beginning. 

Tara Kirk Sell, Olympic silver medalist in swimming of 2004, and a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security said that there shouldn’t be a two-tiered vaccinated and unvaccinated system for athletes, adding that vaccination does play a role when it comes to potential coronavirus spread. 

Sell said that there should be nothing that unvaccinated athletes should do compared to the vaccinated athletes, but when it comes to the risk of getting infected, unvaccinated athletes are at a greater threat, so it was something to be thought about. Sell said that the number of unvaccinated among vaccinated or vice-versa could make a difference. If there is one unvaccinated Olympian among vaccinated ones, he is relatively safe, but a number of unvaccinated athletes are not safe. 

Tokyo Olympics and COVID-19. Are the athletes at risk?

Team USA’s 85% vaccination rate in delegation is in line with the International Olympic Committee delegation’s 85% rate. The USOPC has declined to disclose any further information on their vaccination rates or vaccination number. 

Mackenzie Brown and Archer Brady Ellison, who are not vaccinated, said that if vaccination had been required, they would have not come to Tokyo. Ellison said that even if vaccines help a lot of people, no one should mandate putting something experimental in people’s bodies. Ellison added that if it’s approved, it should be people’s personal choice whether to take it or not. Ellison has already recovered from COVID-19 once, and as stated by Brown the team is following all the necessary preventive measures. 

Brown said that even when athletes do not like wearing masks, they do. Brown said that wearing masks is not fun for them as they climb up the world’s biggest stage, they want to have their faces on the camera and masking up takes away their identity. 

Several women athletes on the rowing team contracted the infection and are largely vaccinated now. Molly Reckford, lightweight women’s double sculls rower said that as their small team takes the virus seriously; they always wear a mask, almost everyone is vaccinated. Molly said that they have agreed that protecting each other, the Japanese people and their teammates is the most important thing for them. She further added that the worst scenario is contracting COVID-19 and not being able to play, or infecting someone and sending them to the hospital. 

Michael Phelps, who is NCB broadcast team’s part said that everybody is free to do what they want and added that he is happy to get vaccinated early and if he were competing, he would have been vaccinated. 

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