83% of US Athletes at Tokyo Games Fully Vaccinated

Ralph Ellis

July 23, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Eighty-three percent of U.S. Olympians at the Summer Games in Tokyo are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Jonathan Finnoff, DO, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee's medical chief.

That's higher than the 59.7% of American adults who are vaccinated, according to CDC statistics, and much higher than Japan's national vaccination rate of 23.2%.

"Eighty-three percent is actually a substantial number, and we're quite happy with it," he told NBC News.

The opening ceremony for the Summer Games was held Friday, with thousands of athletes from around the world marching into a near-empty stadium. Because of COVID-19, spectators have been virtually banned from all events.

NBC News cited the International Olympic Committee as saying 13 COVID-19 infections have been reported among athletes in the Olympic Village in Tokyo. The IOC estimates 85% of the athletes and staffers staying in the village are vaccinated. The IOC did not require athletes to be fully vaccinated to compete.

American athletes known to have tested positive in Japan are beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb and gymnastics team alternate Kara Eaker, NBC News said.

Testing positive before leaving for Japan were 3x3 women's basketball team member Katie Lou Samuelson and tennis player Coco Gauff, according to CNN. NBA star Bradley Beal was placed in USA Basketball's health and safety protocols and also pulled out.

Czech Team Flight Investigated After Team Outbreak

Six members of the Czech delegation to the Olympics, including four athletes, tested positive for COVID-19, leading the Czech Olympic Committee to launch an investigation into whether proper precautions were observed during the team flight to Tokyo, USA Today reported.

The plane carried 42 people, including 14 athletes, USA Today said, citing the Czech News Agency. The plane landed in Tokyo last Friday.

USA Today said there have been reports that some people on the flight didn't wear masks the whole time and that an unvaccinated doctor was among the passengers and may have contributed to the spread.

Czech Athlete: Positive Test "a Nightmare"

One of the Czech athletes who tested positive and is out of the Games, beach volleyball player Markéta Nausch-Sluková, said it was devastating to know her Olympic dream was destroyed. Her husband, beach volleyball coach Simon Nausch, also tested positive.

"We cried, then we swore, then we cried again," Sluková-Nausch said, describing how she and teammate Barbora Hermannova reacted, according to CNN. Her positive test means Hermannova also will not be allowed to compete.

"I am just hoping that no other athletes will follow us, because I think that something like this is a nightmare for any athlete, for any Olympian, who gets this far, this close to the Olympic competition," she said.

Sources

NBC News: "About 100 U.S. athletes in Tokyo unvaccinated as Covid-hit Olympics begin."

CNN: "US gymnast Kara Eaker and basketball player Katie Lou Samuelson test positive for Covid-19 ahead of Olympics," "Beach volleyball player Markéta Sluková-Nausch left in tears as Czech star misses Olympics due to positive Covid-19 result."

USA Today: "Czech team flight being investigated after cluster of COVID-19 cases at Tokyo Olympics."

Czech News Agency: "Covid also has Sluková and Schlegel, the WWTP will investigate the circumstances of the flight."

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