should we press the panic button? – .

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should we press the panic button? – .


Coronavirus cases in Israel are on the rise and the government on Friday reinstated the need to wear masks indoors just 10 days after the status was lifted, barely time to enjoy some freedom and on Sunday the cabinet of the coronavirus was to impose further restrictions.

Is this the start of a fourth wave of infections, or just part of our new COVID-19 world upside down?

Israel must respond quickly and decisively to the latest outbreak, but health experts agree there is no reason to panic just yet.

This is what we know:

The Delta (Indian) variant, according to at least one study, doubles the risk of hospitalization compared to the previously dominant Alpha (British) variant. However, two doses of the Pfizer vaccine are between 88% and 96% effective in preventing hospitalization and serious illness.

Sixty percent of the public is vaccinated although the Delta variant strikes people who have been vaccinated. About a third of the new cases were from people who had been vaccinated.

In Israel, the number of new daily cases has increased over the past week. However, there was no corresponding increase in the number of people hospitalized.

The country had “a terrible last year”, but now “we know what to do. We know how to stop the chain of infection. We know how to behave – what to do and what not to do, ”said Zeev Rotstein, director of Hadassah University Medical Center. Jerusalem post. “The hospitals are ready.

In addition, there is a Prime Minister and a Minister of Health, who in their first weeks have already been more transparent than the previous government. As such, “the public will be more likely to cooperate” with their decisions, Rotstein added.

Israel is not in the same danger it was at the start of the pandemic, said epidemiologist Hagai Levine, but there is a risk of a massive epidemic, and in this case people will be infected and some may even die.

There are currently around 350,000 Israelis who are not vaccinated or for whom the vaccine is not optimally effective for various reasons. Based on traditional percentages, according to Professor Eli Waxman, who served on the National Security Council’s expert committee on the outbreak in previous waves, when, if all 350,000 people had been infected, it would have caused up to ‘at 20%. or 50,000 patients in serious condition.

While it can be assumed that not everyone gets sick, most likely only 10-20%, “we don’t want to have thousands of seriously ill people again,” Waxman said.

And because there are several uncertainties, Israel must take swift and decisive – but measured – action to stop the spread of the virus.

In other words, Israel shouldn’t panic, but neither should it pretend everything is fine.

“Widespread infection in children is something we should avoid,” Waxman said.

While it is true that most children would only experience mild symptoms or less, there is evidence that a percentage would suffer from long-term effects such as a long COVID or other complications.

“And we don’t know how rare or frequent that would be with the new variant,” Waxman said.

Moreover, a widespread infection of children would inevitably reach adults – as Israel is already seeing it happening.

Israel on Friday rescinded the mandate to wear masks in confined spaces. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the appointment of the Major-General on Sunday. (res.) Roni Numa as special commissioner of the coronavirus airport.

The coronavirus cabinet is expected to announce a plan to limit the participation of unvaccinated people in activities where large crowds are expected by reinstating the green passport.

He will also likely discuss plans to ensure that the infrastructure to cut chains of infection – testing, tracing, isolating – is functioning properly.

The public can also do their part by getting vaccinated.

“People who can be vaccinated and who don’t are just putting themselves and those around them at risk,” Bennett said at the cabinet meeting on Sunday morning.

Health officials cannot say this current epidemic will continue to grow. But neither can they say no.

The use of masks, the green passport and isolation are inexpensive and could have a big impact.

“If we do these things in parallel and get as much progress as possible in childhood immunization, then we can contain this epidemic without any drastic measures,” Waxman said.

“If we lose control, which means the numbers are reaching several hundred a day, then that will not be enough and we will be forced to take tougher measures. ”

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