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Doubts emerge about GOJ’s call for reducing social interaction by 80%

  • June 30, 2020
  • , Kyodo
  • JMH Summary

Kyodo took up growing doubts raised by some scientists about the effectiveness of the GOJ’s call for people to reduce social contact by 80% to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The wire service highlighted the view of Dr. Nakano, of Osaka University and a member of a coronavirus advisory board established by Osaka Governor Yoshimura. According to the academic, a detailed analysis of data shows that the nation’s infection level peaked in late March, almost two weeks before the state of emergency was declared on April 7, and that the epidemiological curve would have flattened naturally even without the declaration, the 80% reduction in social interaction, or the extensive business closures. The article took up the view that Japan was able to rein in the outbreak in the early stages thanks to the strict ban on the entry of travelers from overseas that began in mid-March and the nation’s quick adoption of such health protocols as hand washing and wearing masks. Even some members of the GOJ coronavirus taskforce subcommittee are now skeptical of the campaign to reduce social interaction by 80% that was proposed by Hokkaido University Professor Nishiura, underscoring the importance of conducting a thorough examination to see whether a reduction in social interaction to such a degree was necessary. The GOJ reportedly plans to launch a third-party blue-ribbon commission that will include a Nobel laureate to verify the accuracy of Professor Nishiura’s projection for the spread of the virus that formed the basis of his call for a drastic reduction in social interaction.

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