Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Why the Olympic bubble likely didn't become a 'melting pot' of coronavirus variants

Before the 2020 Olympic kicked off, Kei Sato, a senior researcher at the University of Tokyo, told Reuters he thought the Games would be a "melting pot" of coronavirus variants and even lead to the emergence of a new one, but it turns out "there was no chance for the viruses to mutate."

So far, evidence suggests the Olympic "bubble" largely worked, with infection numbers remaining low (only 404 cases were recorded out of 600,000 tests), especially in contrast to increases in Tokyo itself. Brian McCloskey, the lead adviser on the bubble to Olympic organizers, said there are multiple reasons for the apparent success — a combination of a 70 percent vaccination rate among athletes, organizers, and media; daily testing; and a ban on domestic and international visitors. "It's the package that works most effectively, and I think that will still be the message after these Games," he said at a news conference, per Reuters.

McCloskey also does not believe the Games contributed to the spike in infections in Tokyo, though some experts think it's too early to draw conclusions on that. Read more at Reuters.