Japan's second-largest city is suffering an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases, particularly the highly infectious British variant. Hospital beds are full, and medical equipment and drugs are in short supply. Doctors there warn that the upcoming Olympics event, which will bring in over 70,000 athletes, coaches, officials, and administrators, could quickly spread the variant around the world.
By Thursday, 96% of the 348 hospital beds Osaka reserves for serious virus cases were in use. Since March, 17 people have died from the disease outside the prefecture's hospitals, officials said this month.
The variant can make even young people very sick quickly, and once seriously ill, patients find it tough to make a recovery, said Toshiaki Minami, director of the Osaka Medical and Pharmaceutical University Hospital (OMPUH).
"I believe that until now many young people thought they were invincible. But that can't be the case this time around. Everyone is equally bearing the risk."