Sanitary Measures May Aggravate Heat Hazards at Tokyo Games

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Stifling heat, high humidity and mandatory use of a mask: the Tokyo Olympic Games they announce themselves as very hot, and while measures against the covid-19 pandemic are the priority, experts also warn of the health risks of heatwave.

Japanese summer is often a cocktail of heat and humidity that makes daily life difficult and sometimes even deadly. It was an issue that preoccupied organizers long before the appearance of the coronavirus – which forced the postponement of the event from 2020 to 2021.

The relocation of the marathon and jogging races to the northern island of Hokkaido was decided in 2019, months before the pandemic was declared, to try to escape the high temperatures. In the Japanese capital, thermometers can reach 37ºC, with 80% humidity.

Organizers thought of different methods to relieve athletes and spectators, such as artificial snow, or the distribution of ice and ice cream.

Health measures related to the pandemic complicate the task, however, although it is true that the fact that the Olympic Games are held almost entirely behind closed doors limits the risk of heat stroke due to the reduced presence of people at the site.

The use of a mask will be mandatory for everyone, and athletes who arrive in Japan shortly before the competition due to the anti-covid measures will have little time to acclimate.