An alarming number of people in Japan are losing their life to Covid as more infectious variants of the disease trigger a fourth wave of infections in the country and hospital resources are stretched to capacity.
With the rising cases, there lies a cloud of uncertainty over the viability of holding the Olympic Games, which is scheduled to begin from July 23. There is also a wave of growing anger among citizens over the way the Covid crisis has been handled by the Japanese government. The vaccination drive, too, has failed to pick up pace.
“Compared to the number of infections, the number of beds for severe cases is very limited in Japan,” Yasutoshi Kido, a professor at Osaka City University’s Graduate School of Medicine, told Reuters on Tuesday.
While Tokyo reported 925 cases, Osaka recorded 974 fresh Covid cases on Tuesday.
As reported by Reuters, a total of 18 people have died of Covid-19 at home in Osaka Prefecture, 17 of them since March 1, as highly infectious strains of the virus caused a spike in cases, the prefecture said late on Monday, reporting deaths outside hospital for the first time.
Even though officials did not say why the 18 were not admitted to hospitals, it was known more than 96% of the prefecture’s critical care beds were taken.
As reported by Reuters, Kido said hospitals in Osaka were turning away cancer and heart disease patients to make room for Covid-19 cases but their ability to reallocate resources had “almost collapsed”.
Osaka’s governor, Hirofumi Yoshimura, said he had asked the medical association to arrange visits to home-bound patients after he got to know about the deaths at home.
The western region is the worst affected and has become the epicenter of cases. This area got infected by a variant identified in Britain.
Public broadcaster NHK reported last Friday that in an Osaka nursing home, 61 residents were infected and 14 of them succumbed while they were waiting to be hospitalised.