A Tale of Two Cities: Tokyo and its 'bubble'

In one community, vaccination rates above 80%; in the other just 26%.

In one, compulsory testing; in the other, test are hard to come by and some are just resigned to catching COVID.

Welcome to the Tokyo Olympics - a tale of two cities - life in the hermetically sealed "bubble" and outside in the rest of the host city.

Here in the athletes' village and press center - an experiment in extreme COVID controls.

Organizers say it's almost certainly the most tested community anywhere in the world.

More than 50,000 athletes officials and journalists are tested before flying, upon arrival, then regularly - daily for athletes. So the positivity rate is just 0.02%.

Athletes are quarantined if they test positive, journalists subject to strict rules and contract tracing.

Masks are needed at all times and there's sanitizer all over the place.

Almudena Rivera Martinez, a reporter for Spain's Marca sports paper, says the restrictions make work difficult.

"For example in our case we can't go to a part of Tokyo with an athlete because because Tokyo is forbidden to us. The Japanese authorities have banned us for 14 days and the athletes also. We cannot walk around the venues or going straight from one to the other. So it limits our coverage because you can only speak to them in the mixed zone or over the phone, and I could have used the phone also from Spain."

State of emergency Tokyo - where lockdown fatigue has set in, fourth time around.

Bars are meant to close at 8 p.m., but many flout mostly voluntary restrictions.

Many Tokyoites say the government pressing ahead with the Olympics made it feel acceptable to go out.

In the densely populated Ikebukuro district this week, young people crowd onto outdoor stairs for a makeshift party.

Yuka Toma works in the area part-time:

"At this point, I think there's not much to do even if you get the coronavirus. I don't want to get infected, but there are many people who can't avoid it. I work in Ikebukuro (a densely populated city in Tokyo), and I'm also in the customer service industry. So no matter what I do, I'm bound to get it. I started to hang out with others since anyone could get it, no matter how hard they try not to."

Tokyo's cases spiked to a record 3,865 on Thursday, from less than 1,000 daily in mid-July, although serious cases and deaths have stayed low.

The games are being held with hardly any spectators and residents are asked to stay home.

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