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Aug 04, 2021

Japan gets off its fourth wave

Japan gets off its fourth wave The country’s third and fourth waves have been the most infections with a 500% increase in the number of cases.

By Anuja Venkatachalam · Aug 04, 2021

Japan is getting off a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections not long after the third wave in January 2021. The country has now recorded a total of 7,60,323 cases and 13,523 deaths since the first case was reported on 22nd January, 2020.


The fourth wave has been nearly as infectious as the third wave, which marked a 500% increase in the number of cases. However, the case fatality ratio has declined since the first wave during which 4.26% of the cases reported resulted in death. The country’s case fatality rate currently stands at 1.78%.



Tokyo, Osaka worst affected by COVID but other prefectures are reporting a steep rise in cases


Predictably, Japan’s populous cities have been affected the most. The capital city, Tokyo, accounts for ~21.5% of the country’s cases, followed closely by Osaka accounting for 13.28% of cases. Osaka, however, reports a higher case fatality rate than Tokyo with 2.39% of cases in the city resulting in death.



As the country’s fourth wave begins to flatten, Tokyo continues to report the highest number of daily new cases followed by Hokkaido, Okinawa, Kanagawa and Aichi.


On June 6th, Tokyo reported 436 new cases and 8 new deaths. Hokkaido, 276 new cases and 16 deaths. Okinawa reported 261 new cases and no deaths. Kanagawa reported 224 new cases and 1 death, and Aichi 218 cases and 7 deaths.


Declining positivity rate


Japan is currently testing close to 1,18,431 people per 10,00,000 population. Over the past few weeks, the positivity rate has decreased substantially to its current rate of 0.04%, indicating the end of the fourth wave. At its peak on May 5th, the positivity rate was 0.09%.


Low vaccine coverage becomes top priority for Japan’s government


Japan is far behind its high income counterparts in vaccine coverage. Only 5.9% of Japan’s population have received both doses and less than 10% have received at least one dose.


In comparison, the United States and United Kingdom have fully vaccinated over 40% of their population. In Europe, Italy and Germany have vaccinated over 20% of the population. Even lesser developed countries Chile and Brazil have fully vaccinated a larger share of their population than Japan.


With the Tokyo Olympic games scheduled to commence in less than 50 days, vaccinating its aged population will have to be top priority for Japan to rein in its infection rate.


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Originally published on Health Analytics Asia on June 10, 2021.

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