There’s an old saying that it’s always darkest before the dawn, and sure enough after Japan’s most infectious wave of COVID-19 infections by far, we’ve been given an unexpected respite. However, why this is and how long it will last remain to be seen.
Around mid-to-late July cases began to skyrocket from about 3,000 a day to roughly 25,000 per day by around late August. However, just as fast as it shot up, the number of new cases took a nosedive to 549 on 10 October, amounting to a 98 percent decrease in about a month.
▼ Number of daily new cases in Japan during 2021
Not only is that a staggering drop, but the current rate of daily new cases is the lowest its been in all of 2021. Upon hearing this news, the cynical parts of us will undoubtedly assume that Japan just stopped testing as much, however, even by the metric of testing rates we’re still seeing record lows.
Despite the 98 percent drop in cases, there has only been a 45 percent decrease in PCR tests taken. Furthermore, among those tests the rate of positive results slid from about 17 percent to 1.2 percent, which is a 93 percent decrease and once again a record low for 2021.
▼ The dark green line represents the Number of PCR Tests in Japan (7-Day Average). The light green line represents the Percentage of Positive Test Results (7-Day Average) multiplied by 10,000 so the different rates of change can be more easily seen.