Exactly six months from the scheduled start of the Tokyo Olympics, a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by a new, more infectious mutation of the coronavirus, is raising concerns about the safety of the events.
Speaking with NBCLX, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-diseases expert, said it will take a global commitment to getting as many people vaccinated as possible to ensure the Tokyo Olympics are safe for all.
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"We need to get the world, not only our own country, but the world vaccinated as quickly as you possibly can. I think logistically we've got to be realistic. You're not going to have the entire 7 or 8 billion population of the world vaccinated in the next six months. That's just not gonna happen. But we can go a long way to getting as many people vaccinated with the doses that are available," Fauci said.
Uncertainty around the Tokyo Olympics had grown overnight following a report in The Times of London that said unnamed Japanese government officials had determined the event would be too difficult to hold safely.
On Friday, the Japanese government and IOC President Thomas Bach pushed back strongly against the notion that the event will be canceled.
“All our delivery partners including the national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the IOC and the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) are fully focused on hosting the games this summer,” the local organizing committee said in a statement. “We hope that daily life can return to normal as soon as possible, and we will continue to make every effort to prepare for a safe and secure games.”