Doctors in Tokyo and around the world want to cancel the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to COVID-19.
On July 1, 2021, a group of doctors wrote an article for the New England Journal of Medicine. The article discussed the risk of holding the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. They cited the International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines regarding COVID-19 safety and said that these guidelines would not be sufficient to protect participants and spectators. "The IOC's playbooks are not built on scientifically rigorous risk assessment, and they fail to consider how exposure occurs, the factors that contribute to exposure, and which participants may be at highest risk," the article said.
Lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya tweeted on May 5 that in light of the new waves of COVID-19, the event should not be forced to endanger people's lives and livelihoods and the IOC and IPC. His tweet had a link to a petition to cancel the event.
According to Reuters, the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association, hospitals in the games host city, which represents about 6,000 primary care physicians, are overburdened and have almost no spare capacity due to a rise in infections. The association wrote a letter to Premier Yoshihide Suga, strongly requesting that the authorities convince the IOC to cancel the event. The association also warned of a possible collapse of Japan's medical system, which could come under more pressure with Tokyo's hot and humid summer months approaching as the Olympics open.
AP News reported on May 19 that IOC President Thomas Bach offered to add medical personnel to help out when the games open. Bach said he anticipated more than 80 percent of those staying in the Olympic Village would be vaccinated.