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Coronavirus Pandemic, Science

Vaccines, masks? Japan puzzling over sudden virus success

Almost overnight, Japan has become a stunning, and somewhat mysterious, coronavirus success story. Daily new cases have plummeted after a mid-August peak that nearly reached 6,000 in Tokyo, with caseloads in the densely populated capital now below 100.

10/18/2021 8:07:00 AM

Almost overnight, Japan has become a stunning, and somewhat mysterious, coronavirus success story. Daily new cases have plummeted after a mid-August peak that nearly reached 6,000 in Tokyo , with caseloads in the densely populated capital now below 100.

TOKYO (AP) — Almost overnight, Japan has become a stunning, and somewhat mysterious, coronavirus success story. Daily new COVID-19 cases have plummeted from a mid-August peak of nearly 6,000 in Tokyo , with caseloads in the densely populated capital now routinely below 100, an 11-month low.

Many credit the vaccination campaign, especially among younger people, for bringing infections down. Nearly 70 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.“Rapid and intensive vaccinations in Japan among those younger than 64 might have created a temporary condition similar to herd-immunity,” said Dr. Kazuhiro Tateda, a Toho University professor of virology.

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Tateda noted that vaccination rates surged in July to September, just as the more infectious delta variant was spreading fast.He cautioned, however, that breakthrough infections in the U.S., Britain and other places where inoculations began months earlier than in Japan show that vaccines alone are not perfect and efficacy gradually wears off.

Japan’s vaccinations started in mid-February, with health workers and the elderly first in line. Shortages of imported vaccines kept progress slow until late May, when the supply stabilized and daily inoculation targets were raised to above 1 million doses to maximize protection before the July 23-Aug. 8 Olympics.

The number of daily shots rose to about 1.5 million in July, pushing vaccination rates from 15% in early July to 65% by early October, exceeding the 57% of the United States.Daily new cases surged just weeks ahead of the Olympics, forcing Japan to hold the Games with daily caseloads of more than 5,000 in Tokyo and around 20,000 nationwide in early August. Tokyo reported 40 cases Sunday, below 100 for the ninth straight day and lowest this year. Nationwide, Japan reported 429 cases Sunday for an accumulated total of about 1.71 million and 18,000 deaths since the pandemic began early last year.

So why the drop?ADVERTISEMENT“It’s a tough question, and we have to consider the effect of the vaccinations progress, which is extremely big,” said Disease Control and Prevention Center Director Norio Ohmagari. “At the same time, people who gather in high-risk environments, such as crowded and less-ventilated places, may have been already infected and acquired natural immunity by now.”

Though some speculated that the drop in cases might be due to less testing, Tokyo metropolitan government data showed the positivity rate fell from 25% in late August to 1% in mid-October, while the number of tests fell by one-third. Masataka Inokuchi, the Tokyo Medical Association deputy chief, said falling positivity rates show infections have slowed.

Japan’s state of emergency measures were not lockdowns but requests that focused mainly on bars and eateries, which were asked to close early and not serve alcohol. Many people continued to commute on crowded trains, and attended sports and cultural events at stadiums with some social distancing controls.

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The emergency requests have ended and the government is gradually expanding social and economic activity while allowing athletic events and package tours on a trial basis using vaccination certificates and increased testing.To speed up inoculations, former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who left office recently, expanded the number of health workers legally eligible to give shots, opened large-scale vaccination centers and promoted workplace vaccinations beginning in late June.

Kyoto University professor Hiroshi Nishiura told a recent government advisory board meeting that he estimates vaccinations helped some 650,000 people avoid infection and saved more than 7,200 lives between March and September.Many experts initially blamed younger people, seen drinking on the streets and in parks when the bars were closed, for spreading the virus, but said data showed many in their 40s and 50s also frequented nightlife districts. Most serious cases and deaths were among unvaccinated people in their 50s or younger.

Takaji Wakita, director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, told reporters recently he is worried people have already resumed partying in nightlife districts, noting that the slowing of infections may have already hit bottom.“Looking ahead, it is important to further push down the caseloads in case of a future resurgence of infections,” Wakita said Thursday.

On Friday, new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said a preparedness plan to be compiled by early November would include tougher limits on activities and require hospitals to provide more beds and staff for COVID-19 treatment in case infections soar in a “worst-case scenario.”

He did not elaborate on details.Many people are cautious about letting down their guard, regardless of the numbers.Mask-wearing “has become so normal,” said university student Mizuki Kawano. “I’m still worried about the virus,” she said.“I don’t want to get close to those who don’t wear masks,” said her friend, Alice Kawaguchi.

Public health experts want a comprehensive investigation into why infections have dropped off.An analysis of GPS data showed that people’s movements in major downtown entertainment districts fell during the most recent, third state of emergency, which ended Sept. 30.

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“I believe the decrease of people visiting entertainment districts, along with the vaccination progress, has contributed to the decline of infections,” said Atsushi Nishida, the director of the Research Center for Social Science & Medicine Sciences at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science.

But people headed back to entertainment districts as soon as the recent emergency ended, he said, and that may “affect the infection situation in coming weeks.”___AP journalist Chisato Tanaka contributed to this report.Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at

Read more: The Associated Press »

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JenniferCupcak3 🙌🙌🙌 Check out Taiwan's Covid curve, Taiwan used Fucoidan before the vaccines could arrive. Fucoidan is used by Dr Daisuke Tachikawa for helping his cancer patients to recover from surgery or from chemo Horowitz: New study shows denial of ivermectin is a crime against humanity Yeah! What a mystery 🙄

I'm happy to hear of any success stories during the pandemic. Uk is an island and we have the worse rates in Europe. Also Japanese we’re doing very badly with covid? It hasn’t been overnight, they have been doing comparatively great the entire time. And they did it without strict lockdowns. Kind of makes you wonder why that is. Couldn’t have anything to do with overall health of the citizens, could it?

Amazing how herd immunity works if you just open up and let nature take it’s course. Population is 3% obese (vs 42% in the US), vax campaign was formidable once it got going, and no dumb political fights over masks. 1️⃣Correction — Reported cases 2️⃣There are reports that asymptomatic people are not tested No one seems to wonder if data has been suppressed. No one seems to recall that lack of govt transparency during the Fukushima nuclear meltdown.

It had nothing to do with Japanese doctors prescribing horse dewormer and I don't want anyone to spread misinformation

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It seems like they just experienced their peak earlier than other countries. Because the vax doesn't work, it makes things worse for some people. Here in the us it's a big money grab. Mysterious? The peak occurred within the incubation period after holding the international Olympic games. Mystery. LOL If it happened overnight, then it is a lie.

Bangladesh is now burning with the violence of the majority community.Hindu women are being raped. Hindu houses and temples are being set on fire.Please stand by the Bangladeshi Hindu community. SaveBangladeshiHindus Stop_Communal_Attack BangladeshiHinduWantSafety They're prescribing ivermectin on a large scale now.

They use and recommend Ivermectin “Rapid and intensive vaccinations in Japan among those younger than 64 might have created a temporary condition similar to herd-immunity,” said Dr. Kazuhiro Tateda, a Toho University professor of virology. -article Good news. Inspire others who mess with pandemic. Puzzer in lacrime ' Preghiamo e non andremo via ' portuali portualitrieste Triste Puzzer sgombero NoGreenPassObbligatorio nogreepass Draghi GovernoDraghi

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Why are they 'puzzling'? The answer is in the story! “At the same time, people who gather in high-risk environments, such as crowded and less-ventilated places, may have been already infected and acquired natural immunity by now.” The number of tests itself plummeted right after it was obvious an election was going to happen. We'll never know the true numbers. I couldn't get tested when I had a fever for 3 days. Doc said to stay home. Same goes for my kid.

Cases surge before a very unpopular Olympics and then suddenly drop drastically….it isn’t possible that the data’s being manipulated for political and economic purposes?—I mean…nah. Too far fetched 🙄 Well yeah... The Olympics ended about the time people stopped contracting it... That's not just a coincidence.

They're not all selfish, self-centered, irresponsible snowflakes. They're putting country over politics like any smart country should. BBCLBicker They don't tell you that the number of tests continues to decline. The number of tests, which reached 25,000 a month ago, has now decreased to 3,900. Watching live stream YouTube videos from Tokyo, there was always crowds even during the emergency lockdowns. Not as many as normal times but still. Covid has run it's course there and we would be wise to look at them as well as Denmark and Sweden. Life going on as normal.

While it’s good relief to see cases in some countries plummet, it is also important for governments to seriously try to figure out why. This will help in preventing/controlling future waves. Waning vaccine efficacy must be factored in future readiness. Amazing what can be accomplished when the majority of your population gets vaccinated and wears a mask. Nothing mysterious here except why the richest and most powerful country in the world can't do the same. GetVaccinatedNow WearADamnMask 😷

Wait a minute... you Mean to tell me if everyone does SOMETHING rather than nothing things get better *confused in american*

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Porto di Trieste, adesso 00:30👇 NoGreenPass portualidiTrieste 👇 Yeah, because it is almost impossible to get tested. I personally know 3 people who were sent to multiple hospitals and being told to go elsewhere. It is no better here. It is just denied so companies can endanger us all in the name of profits.

Cue the deep state conspiracy theories. Considering the mask up and now we all have a vaccine choice it's not so surprising. For them masks are not political, they are practical and smart. Anime Not almost overnight. No mandate is needed for them as they have common sense. They wear mask, stay at home when needed and get vaccinated at high rates.

I think a lot of people in the comments who “know” how the Japanese succeeded in getting their new case numbers so low didn’t actually read the article. 🤦‍♂️ Mainly Japanese choose vaccination and wearing mask not to spread virus to others rather than not to receive virus. So thankful Japan is rebounding so well 🙏 I cannot WAIT to visit.

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They also have a quarantine requirement and masks are used. They are using ivermectin Social distance is normal in Japan. People don't touch each other or get too close. It's also normal to mask up for various reasons even without COVID. BBCLBicker 돈내고 검사받는데 누가 받겠는가? 당연 수치가 내려감 It’s not stunning. They don’t have TFG and his cronies over there twisting the truth and sowing doubts about the vaccines.

How about they all either have the vaccine out have had covid and recovered? It just ran it's course. Covid is never going away but it can continue to become weaker as immunizations and natural immunity become more prevalent Isn't that about the time where the Chairman of the Tokyo Medical Association recommended Ivermectin? That couldn't be it. Unless...

Olympics-80,000 visitors integrated in society , hotels, transportation, cleaning people, food people, not a bubble. they are the real adults vs American little babies that don't know how to use a pacifier correctly during the pandemic, cause TRUMP LET EVERY AMERICAN DOWN FOR NOT DO PREVENTIVE MEASURE LIKE OBAMA OR BUSH OR CLINTON OR REAGAN OR EVEN CARTER...THEY ARE PROS IN THEIR JOBS, TO LEAD

CDC: It’s Safe to Get COVID, Flu Vaccines at Same TimeThe CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices offered several updated recommendations regarding seasonal flu vaccines, most notably the safety of coadministration of COVID-19 and influenza vaccines. So what is the point of a healthy lifestyle if we are going to constantly inject unknown chemicals? tetanus and rabies Don’t care not getting any

Natural (+ vaccine) immunity This is the phenomenon we are seeing everywhere. After a massive infection, there is more immunity. Natural immunity fades and this cycle will repeat Unless we vaccinate people with fading natural immunity. The next cycle will begin around Feb'22 they know how to deal with any outbreaks like this one, they already experience before...

Because they mask up for every illness, especially COVID. They mask up for colds and the flu every time. CHICKAMUNGUS 👀 I guess once everybody got it (or the vax, or both), then it's herd immunity, is that hard to comprehend? 200mb per one dollar Ooredoo make money in Myanmar India and Japan r completely ending COVID 🎆. India and Japan have became new Australia and new Zealand . Because in Australia the cases going up every day now .

good And we believe that everything is true?