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Scientists see flaws in IOC virus measures for Tokyo games

Washington, May 27 (Jiji Press)–The International Olympic Committee’s coronavirus measures for the Tokyo Games have flaws, according to a recent article by scientists.

The IOC’s Playbooks, which list infection prevention measures for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, “are not built on scientifically rigorous risk assessment,” said the article, published online on the New England Journal of Medicine, a U.S. scientific journal, on Tuesday.

The article was written by four experts, including Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, who also serves as adviser to President Joe Biden.

“We believe that the IOC’s playbooks should classify events as low, moderate, or high risk depending on the activity and the venue and should address differences among these categories,” the article said.

The authors criticized the IOC’s plan to provide every athlete with a smartphone with mandatory contact-tracing and health-reporting apps.

“Contact-tracing apps are often ineffective, however, and very few Olympic athletes will compete carrying a mobile phone,” they said. “Evidence suggests that wearable devices with proximity sensors are more effective than such apps.”

With less than two months to go before the start of the Tokyo Games, the experts said that “canceling the Games may be the safest option.”

“But the Olympic Games are one of the few events that could connect us at a time of global disconnect,” they continued. “For us to connect safely, we believe urgent action is needed for these Olympic Games to proceed.”

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