Why Did Japan’s Covid-19 Cases Plummet?

COVID-19 cases in Japan have plunged 99% from their peak in August, and the country has seen less than 1 death per day in recent weeks. 

Why?

Experts are struggling to find an answer. 80% of Japan’s population is vaccinated, and masking is the norm. But Japan’s neighbor, South Korea, has vaccinated 90% of its population, has comparable masking practices—and is experiencing its worst wave of infections of the pandemic.

Possibilities: Maybe immunity was boosted by a milder variant circulating in Japan, or Delta mutated to stop replicating. But so far they’re just theories.

Regardless, “the reality is another wave will definitely come,” one Japanese infectious disease expert said.

NPR Goats and Soda

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