TOKYO (NEXSTAR) – As the Tokyo games get underway, the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic lingers. Wearing a mask, washing hands and staying socially distant is part of everyday life in the host nation.
The country continues to have slow vaccination rates and report a high number of cases. In fact, Tokyo reported 1,1832 new cases this past Wednesday, just two days before the opening ceremony. That is the highest number of cases since January, according to NRP.
Over 850,000 Japanese people have been infected with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Health officials report that over 15,000 people have died.
Justin Mejia, a Norfolk, Virginia native, has lived in Japan since 2015, says life in Japan during the pandemic closely resembled that in the United States.
“My whole life was in this room,” he said.
Although life is slowly getting back to normal, there are still several differences.
“Most of the restaurants close at 8 p.m.,” Mejia added. “The trains still run – they’re still packed every morning and packed every night.”
The games are officially underway and will continue until August 8.