As another wave of coronavirus infections pummels Japan, the country has emerged as the world’s No.1 COVID-19 hot spot, at least in official statistics. Despite data suggesting that many patients now only develop mild symptoms, the nation’s health care system is nonetheless strained more than ever before.
As of Monday, Japan had logged a seven-day rolling average of 202,823 newly confirmed cases per day, according to Our World in Data, followed by 124,840 in the U.S. and 68,609 in Germany.
Unlike in previous waves, the government has vowed — at least for now — not to impose any restrictions on businesses or people. That is mainly because of the characteristics of currently dominant virus strain and the fact that there are now some tools — a vaccine and various medicines — available to fight it. Omicron subvariant BA.5, which accounts for most of the strains detected in Japan, is highly contagious but generally considered to cause less severe symptoms than earlier strains.