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Japan hospitals slammed after underestimating third COVID wave

Lack of flexibility results in too few beds for coronavirus patients

Medical staff at Kindai University Hospital in Osaka admit a severely ill coronavirus patient. (Photo courtesy of Kindai University Hospital)   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Hospitals in areas of Japan hit hard by a resurgent coronavirus outbreak are struggling to accommodate patients, despite far lower case numbers and more beds than in Europe or the U.S. A failure to adjust excessively rosy assumptions as facts on the ground changed is partly responsible for the situation.

Many experts had warned of the possibility of a winter surge for months. Yet the number of beds set aside for coronavirus cases has actually declined since the first wave last spring.

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