The Japanese region says home deaths are increasing amid the COVID-19 wave
© Reuters. Medical workers prepare to put on personal protective equipment (PPE) when entering the intensive care unit (ICU) for patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at St. Marianna Medical University Hospital in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo, Japan on May 4th work. 2020. REU
TOKYO (Reuters) – Growing numbers of Japanese people are dying of COVID-19 at home as more infectious variants of the coronavirus trigger a fourth wave of infections and hospital resources are on the verge of collapse.
Public anger at the government over dealing with the crisis is growing, as are doubts about the feasibility of holding the Olympics in just over 10 weeks as a vaccination campaign struggles to build up steam.
“Compared to the number of infections, the number of beds for severe cases in Japan is very limited,” said Yasutoshi Kido, a professor at Osaka City University’s Graduate School of Medicine, on Tuesday.
Eighteen people have died of COVID-19 at home in Osaka Prefecture, 17 of them since March 1, as highly infectious strains of the virus caused spikes in some cases, the prefecture said late Monday, the first to report deaths outside of the hospital.
Prefecture officials did not provide details of why the 18 people were not hospitalized, but news of their death came when more than 96% of the prefecture’s intensive care beds were occupied.
Kido said hospitals in Osaka were turning down cancer and heart disease patients to make way for COVID-19 cases, but their ability to reallocate resources “almost collapsed”.
The western region of Osaka has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus and has become the epicenter of cases caused by a variant first identified in the UK that is more contagious and causes more serious illnesses.
There were 974 new coronavirus cases in Osaka Prefecture on Tuesday and 925 in Tokyo.
In a nursing home in Osaka, 61 residents were infected and 14 died while waiting to be hospitalized, public broadcaster NHK reported last Friday.
The government plans to control infections with new restrictions and extend the state of emergency for much of the country late last week, just over two months before the Tokyo Olympics open.
The expanded emergency affects Tokyo, Osaka and four other prefectures and lasts until May 31.
The games have been postponed for a year as the coronavirus spread around the world last year and organizers push ahead with plans to host the sporting showpiece from July 23, despite increasing public opposition.
Tennis player Kei Nishikori, along with compatriot Naomi Osaka, voiced concern about the Olympic schedule and said he feared an outbreak in the athletes’ village.
Some prefecture governors at an online meeting on Monday called for stronger emergency measures nationwide, the Kyodo News Agency reported.
Japan is lagging behind most rich countries in its vaccination campaign. Only 2.6% of the population have been vaccinated, according to a Reuters tracker, and there are reports that people are having a hard time booking recordings.
“Japan is lagging behind. Our goal now is to really help speed up vaccination,” said Christophe Weber, CEO of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co, which handles Takeda Pharmaceutical Co’s imports Modern (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc Vaccine.
There is dissatisfaction on social media with the government’s handling of the pandemic. News that the deputy mayor of a downtown area agreed to prioritize vaccinations for drug dealer chairman Sugi Holdings Co and his wife drew thousands of angry posts on Twitter.
A publisher posted a World War II-era photo in newspapers of children preparing to defend the country with sticks to highlight what the government saw as a failure to protect the public from the virus.