UTAH (ABC4) – The 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing are now exactly one month away. However, here at home, COVID-19 cases are on a steady incline due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Some are wondering how the ongoing pandemic will affect the games.
The short answer is the International Olympic Committee says it’s not likely the Beijing games will get nixed. But Dick Pound, long-time member of the committee says it’s not out of the realms of possibility.
Either way, it’s safe to say Olympic officials are very concerned
This week, U.S Speedskating announced they will not allow spectators from watching the trials that are set to begin Wednesday due to COVID-19 precautions. This is the same protocol we saw during the Tokyo games last summer.
COVID is affecting athletes during the preparation phase.
According to the Associated Press, 2-time gold medal skier Makaela Shiffrin tested positive for COVID nine days ago but has since been cleared to compete. The new variant is prompting officials to enact even stricter protocols for the winter games than the Tokyo games.
Andrew Marden of KXAN and Journey to Beijing said, “right now we’re anticipating the worst but it’s still the Olympics and we’re excited but by all accounts, Beijing will be on higher lockdown than Tokyo.”
As a precaution, Olympic officials require athletes to test regularly and be vaccinated as well as wear face masks and social distance
While there are no cancellations at this time, with the omicron variant, Olympic officials say anything can happen in the coming weeks.
For now, the games are set to begin on Feb 4.