The following is from The Asahi Shimbun, an English paper in Japan, of May 30.

"As the nation remains on alert for a surge in novel coronavirus cases, Tokyo recorded 14 new infections on May 30, the fifth consecutive day the number has topped double digits in the capital.
In the southern city of Kita-Kyushu, 16 new confirmed cases were reported, the third straight day exceeding double digits."

The number of novel coronavirus cases both in Tokyo and Kita-Kyushu was in double digits and the paper says “Tokyo … has topped double digits,” “Kita-Kyushu…exceeding double digits.”
I understand the word “top” and “exceed” mean surpass. If so, the article sounds like the numbers both in Tokyo and Kita-Kyushu were more than double digits and doesn’t seem to make sense. Please clear up my confusion.

Original Post
@fujibei posted:

The number of novel coronavirus cases both in Tokyo and Kita-Kyushu was in double digits and the paper says “Tokyo … has topped double digits,” “Kita-Kyushu…exceeding double digits.”
I understand the word “top” and “exceed” mean surpass. If so, the article sounds like the numbers both in Tokyo and Kita-Kyushu were more than double digits and doesn’t seem to make sense. Please clear up my confusion.

Hi, Fujibei—You raise an interesting point. I agree with you that topping or exceeding double digits means surpassing double digits, which I suppose means going into triple digits, contrary to the writer's intended meaning.

It would have been better if the writer had used "has topped the double-digit mark," "has exceeded the double-digit mark." That is the intended meaning. The double-digit mark is ten. The number of new cases surpassed ten.

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