What Will the 2020 Olympics Expose About COVID?
Will holding this year’s 2020 Summer Olympics show that world leaders have moved on from most covid fears, or will it expose the inability of the vaccine to protect people from the freedom-grabbing results of a positive test? All athletes must be vaccinated prior to arrival in Tokyo, and they will undergo daily saliva tests. A positive result means an early exit from the Games, after 10 days in isolation, of course.
The fact that the Olympics are happening is an encouraging sign of global leaders overcoming their fear of the coronavirus that derailed modern society last year, but the event will be much different than those held in recent history. In an unprecedented move, the Games will be held without spectators. It will be a very different experience indeed for the elite athletes who trained and qualified to compete at their sport’s top level without family members, friends, and fans cheering them on from the stands.
Is having a modified Olympics better than having no Olympics at all? Well, the knee-jerk reaction is “yes,” but the reality of daily covid testing will eliminate many athletes who never don a leotard or crouch in the starting gate of an oval track. Many competitors will be yanked from the Games during the course of daily testing.
Even those who have gotten the vaccine and exhibit no covid symptoms can still test positive for the virus. American gymnast Kara Eaker and basketball player Katie Lou Samuelson were both vaccinated before they traveled to Tokyo to compete in the 2020 Olympic Summer Games when they tested positive sans symptoms. Even though they followed the rules and took all precautions necessary, their dreams of standing on the Olympic podium – or even participation in the Games – have been shattered. Both women currently are isolated in their rooms in Olympic Village, awaiting their early returns to America.
American tennis star Coco Gauff tested positive last week and has already pulled out of the Games. With 11,000 athletes from around the world staying in 21 residential buildings in Olympic Village, chances are fairly high that we will be seeing a number of additional positive tests that dash more gold medal dreams in the coming weeks. Even though the Games will be held without spectators in an effort to limit the potential spread of the virus, but some are worried that this year’s Olympics could become a “superspreader” event.
So, is the vaccine really all that good at preventing a person from getting the coronavirus? So far, it seems that enough fully vaccinated people are testing positive on a highly visible global stage that manufacturers should question the integrity of their product. Many consumers already do, as the vaccines were of course rolled out much more quickly than any other vaccine. Time will reveal if this year’s Olympics sets off another wave of infections of a highly survivable disease. At any rate, a wave of highly skilled athletes will set off on the journey of their dreams only to return home early after testing positive for a disease they were vaccinated for.