Olympic Virus Cases Raise Tough Questions About Testing

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In addition, transmission-related questions remain unresolved. Vaccinated people who are asymptomatic or have contagious infections can transmit the virus to others, but it is not yet clear how often this happens.

Many experts said it’s best to err on the side of safety and regular testing until that science is more conclusive or vaccine rates rise. For example, frequent testing at the Olympics can help protect the wider Japanese population with relatively low vaccination rates, as well as support personnel who are older and may be at higher risk.

Dr. “Actually, it’s the people I’m most worried about,” said Lisa Brosseau. one Research advisor at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Not only do they contract the virus, they strain the Japanese healthcare system, but they can also become sources of transmission: “Everyone is at risk, and anyone can potentially become infected,” he said.

According to the Tokyo 2020 press office, all Olympic officials and volunteers were offered the opportunity to be vaccinated, but officials did not provide data on how many people were vaccinated.

Dr. Binney said authorities may be rethinking how they respond to positive tests instead of testing less frequently. For example, someone who has been vaccinated and tests positive for asymptomatics should still be isolated – but perhaps close contacts could simply be monitored rather than quarantined.

Dr. “You’re trying to balance the destructive nature of what you’re doing if someone tests positive for the vaccine, against any gain in slowing or stopping the spread of the virus,” Binney said.

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