IJERPH, Vol. 20, Pages 2408: The Impact of Preventive Strategies Adopted during Large Events on the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Case Study of the Tokyo Olympics to Provide Guidance for Future Large Events (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
This study aimed to analyze the impact of hosting large events on the spread of pandemics, taking Tokyo Olympics 2020 as a case study. A risk assessment method for the whole organization process was established, which could be used to evaluate the effectiveness of various risk mitigation measures. Different scenarios for Games participants and Japanese residents during the Tokyo Olympics were designed based on the infection control protocols proposed by the Olympic Committee and local governments. A modified Wells–Riley model considering the influence of social distance, masking and vaccination, and an SIQRV model that introduced the effect of quarantine and vaccination strategies on the pandemic spread were developed in this study. Based on the two models, our predicted results of daily confirmed cases and cumulative cases were obtained and compared with reported data, where good agreement was achieved. The results show that the two core infection control strategies of the bubble scheme and frequent testing scheme curbed the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic during the Tokyo Olympics. Among Games participants, Japanese local staff accounted for more than 60% of the total in positive cases due to their large population and most relaxed travel restrictions. The surge in positive cases was mainly attributed to the high transmission rate of the Delta variant and the low level of immunization in Japan. Based on our simulation results, the risk management flaws for the Tokyo Olympics were identified and improvement measures were investigated. Moreover, a further analysis was carried out on the impact of different preventive measures with respect to minimizing the transmission of new variants with higher transmissibility. Overall, the findings in this study can help policymakers to design scientifically based and practical countermeasures to cope with pandemics during the hosting of large events.