As we've previously noted, every four decades, something jinxes the Olympics. Japanese officials spent the last several months downplaying the virus outbreak, but as soon as the Games were delayed on March 23, virus cases in Tokyo spiked, with possible lockdowns looming, reported AP News.
Former government officials have raised their eyebrows of just how COVID-19 cases were low before the postponement, to now on an exponential curve, as some have suggested there was a coverup by the government to artificially suppress cases to make it appear that the Games would go on.
"In order to make the impression that the city was taking control of the coronavirus, Tokyo avoided making strict requests and made the number of patients look smaller," former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said in a tweet.
"The coronavirus has spread while they waited. (For Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike) it was Olympics first, not Tokyo's residents."
Several weeks ago, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the Japanese government "would overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without a problem." Abe's attitude towards the outbreak dramatically changed over the weekend when he said:
"Once infections overshoot, our strategy ... will instantly fall apart," Abe warned on Saturday. "Under the current situation, we are just barely holding up. A state of emergency is not needed just yet, but that Japan could at any time face a situation as bad as in the United States or Europe."
Abe had a phone call with International Olympic Committee (IOC), President Thomas Bach, last Tuesday, AP notes. That was the moment when the Games were decided to be postponed until 2021.
Then on Wednesday, one day after the postponement, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike advised residents to stay home and practice social distancing until mid-April, signaling that possible lockdowns could be ahead to flatten the pandemic curve.
Confirmed cases in the country have surged since the postponement of the Games -- with an exponential rise expected through April.
"Is this just a coincidence?" Maiko Tajima, an opposition lawmaker from the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said during a parliamentary session last Wednesday, citing Tokyo's sudden spike in cases.
Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said there is no correlation between the surge in cases and the Olympic postponement.
Abe has since dismissed that Japan artificially suppressed cases by limiting tests and defined COVID-19 deaths as other pneumonia fatalities to boost the prospects that the Games must go on:
"I'm aware that some people suspect Japan is hiding the numbers, but I believe that's not true," he said. "If there is a coverup, it will show up in the number of deaths."
Abe also said the government had secured enough hospital beds and ventilators to prepare for a worst-case.
"We fear a situation where severe patients start dying when the medical system collapses, and we must prevent that situation," Kato told NHK on Sunday.
And why would Abe's government allegedly coverup the virus outbreak to make it appear that containment was almost certain? Well, as we explained on March 11, Japan and some mega-corporations would lose billions of dollars if the Games were delayed or canceled. So, another example of profits over human health?