Once I first advised my medical colleagues that I’d be touring 14 hours to Tokyo, they checked out me with a little bit of shock, then hesitantly advised me merely to “be protected.” It’s the similar response I’ve usually acquired when jetting off to cowl a pure catastrophe, just like the earthquake in Haiti, or a battle, just like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This time, nevertheless, the mission was to report on how individuals from all around the globe would converge for the Olympic Video games in a metropolis underneath a state of emergency because of the pandemic.
My flight to Japan was almost empty, simply as they usually are with my journeys into scorching zones. Given there have been few or no spectators allowed for these video games, there have been no followers on the aircraft sporting nation colours, talking excitedly in numerous languages or exchanging their picks on favored athletes. It was quiet, serene and lonely.
My days previous to departure have been full of detailed planning and many testing: a Covid check inside 96 hours of departure, and once more inside 72 hours of departure. One other one instantly upon arrival, and once more each day throughout my keep. Every time, the potential of a breakthrough an infection lurking at the back of my thoughts, forcing me into isolation and my group into quarantine for an prolonged and unplanned keep.
Even underneath the most effective of circumstances, planning to host the Olympic Video games is likely one of the most difficult logistical occasions on the planet. In the midst of an unfolding pandemic, it appeared almost inconceivable. On high of that, native help for the Video games is anemic: Practically 8 in 10 Japanese residents stated they most well-liked to cancel the Video games altogether of their dwelling nation, in keeping with a current ballot. Many right here really feel the choice to carry them is irresponsible, due to the well being dangers concerned with having, in essence, tens of hundreds of probably contaminated out-of-towners arriving in your doorstep in the midst of a pandemic.
However after suspending the video games for a yr, the Japanese authorities and the Worldwide Olympics Committee determined the present — the Video games — should go on.
And so they’re — however they’re very totally different: unusual and eerily quiet.
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