This is a supplementary explanation in response to some inquiries we have received regarding the letter “On Church Activities After Lifting of State of Emergency” released by Archbishop Kikuchi on 26 May, particularly the following portion in the said letter: (link:

 “In addition, I humbly seek the understanding of the elderly and those who have chronic illness, that in giving priority to protecting life, I would like to ask you to please stay at home at this initial stage. Conventionally, “elderly” has been defined as those who are 65 years old (前期高齢者early elderly) or older. Especially for those who are 75 years old and older, kindly pray at home for the time being.”

 It is most important to keep in mind that the “number of infected people” and the “fatality rate” are two different things. Looking merely at the figures of those infected with COVID-19, we see that there are more infected people in their 20’s to 50’s than those in their 60’s or older. However, those in the 20-50 years old age bracket, though infected, have very low fatality rate and many of them are even considered asymptomatic.

For example, as of 27 May, 2,717 infected people in their 20’s were recorded, but there were no deaths nor seriously ill patients. Similarly, 2,502 infected people in their 30’s were recorded, but registered four deaths and one seriously ill patient.

On the contrary, although the number of infected people among the elderly is less than that of younger people, the fatality rate and the mortality rate upon infection is higher. According to the same data above, among the 1,637 infected people in their 70’s, 160 deaths and 33 seriously ill patients were recorded. Also, among the 1,733 infected people in their 80’s and older, 327 deaths and 17 seriously ill patients were recorded, which is approximately 20% precious life lost.

Thus, COVID-19 infections among the young and middle-aged group may be considered mild in most cases, but it is a dreadful disease that is life-threatening for the elderly.

Let us focus not merely on the “number of infected people” but rather on the “fatality rate” of the elderly. Thank you for your kind consideration of the Archbishop’s advisory.

The data in the text refers to the graph created by Toyo Keizai Online based on the announcement made by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. (Click on the link for the graph: