With just 50 days remaining until the Tokyo Olympics begin, an estimated 10,000 unpaid volunteers told organizers that they will no longer be participating in the Summer Games. According to a report from the Associated Press on Wednesday, organizers believe that many dropped out due to fears of contracting COVID-19.
Currently, an estimated 2-3 percent of the Japanese population is fully vaccinated. However, International Olympic Committee experts believe that at least 80 percent of athletes and resident of Olympic Village will be fully vaccinated when the Tokyo Olympics get underway.
"We have not confirmed the individual reasons," organizers said in a statement. "In addition to concerns about the coronavirus infection, some dropped out because they found it would be difficult to actually work after checking their work shift, or due to changes in their own environment."
Despite the loss of volunteers, organizers don't expect the dropouts to affect the operations of the Summer Games.
The news of volunteers abandoning the Games comes as public opinion of hosting the events is down. According to the AP, an estimated 50-80 percent of Japan's population doesn't believe that the Olympics should take place.
There have been an estimated 13,000 deaths related to COVID-19 in Japan, which is fewer than most countries. The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to begin on July 23 and run through Aug. 8.
The Japanese government recently extended its COVID-19 state of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka, and seven other districts. The state of emergency was originally going to be lifted this week, but it will now be extended until at least June 20 after 260 new cases were discovered on Monday.