COVID outside of the Olympic bubble, how Americans in Tokyo are navigating the pandemic

Japan 2020

TOKYO (KSEE) — With Japan’s newly extended state of emergency related to COVID-19 earlier this week, American athletes in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic bubble are largely protected from the virus. Many wonder what that means for Americans outside of that many protection.

None of the approximately 76,000 Americans living in Japan, a number that does not include members of the military, are exempt from mask-wearing or social distancing in the wake of the pandemic.

“COVID’s been a challenge. We have had to create shift work for our employees,” says Randall Baucom, public affairs officer for Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, or CFAY. “We teleworked for a while, but the U.S. Navy is an outdoor sport.”

Quintin Henderson, a Boatswain’s mate second class for the US Navy, says new routines like the daily temperature checks are not stopping them from getting their jobs done.

“COVID here has been somewhat of a challenge, but we have worked together,” Henderson explains. We had limited hours to come to work.”

35% of the Japanese population is fully vaccinated and with record numbers of new COVID infections, Americans in Tokyo say they are utilizing CDC protocols to stay healthy and safe.

“We follow all the protocols that are established by the Olympic organizers and the host nation as well as the US team,” says Scott Schonauer of the United States Diplomatic Security Service. “In many cases, we are also undergoing the testing.”

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