The unvaccinated….the immunocompromised…and the elderly…
“The death rate for the unvaxxed has been 10 times higher than the death rate for the vaxxed, the Israeli health ministry reported.”
Daily Beast: Just a few months ago, it seemed Israel had all but beaten COVID-19. Infections, hospitalizations and deaths were vanishingly low.
It’s not hard to see why. The country’s vaccine uptake was high. Most vaccinated Israelis were also boosted, and the health ministry had begun offering a second booster to the most vulnerable residents. Masks were required in indoor public spaces, and a vaccine card was required to enter the most crowded spaces, including restaurants, bars, theaters, and music venues. This strict approach to COVID was working.
Then Omicron hit… and everything changed. Israel is now having its worst COVID surge, with record infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, all in the past few weeks.
The numbers are pretty startling: On Jan. 1, Israeli authorities logged only 6,000 new COVID infections. On Jan. 19, they tallied a record-high 243,000 cases in a single day. At the peak of the Omicron surge in mid-January, just 3,500 people were hospitalized with serious cases of COVID.
To put that in perspective, cases on the worst day of the current surge were 10 times higher than on the worst day of all the previous surges. And on the worst day for Omicron deaths—Feb. 1—121 Israelis died. This in a country with just 9.2 million people.
The country did… nothing. That response, or lack of one, could signal a new attitude toward COVID in Israel and similar countries.
The vast majority of Israeli cases have been mild, owing to a combination of vaccine-induced immunity and the tendency of Omicron to stay in the head—and manifest as a bad cold—rather than attack the lungs like previous COVID-19 variants.
Deaths in the current wave are concentrated in that quarter of the Israeli population that isn’t vaccinated. The death rate for the unvaxxed has been 10 times higher than the death rate for the vaxxed, the Israeli health ministry reported. Read more..
From the Times of Israel:
Officials are expected to discuss lifting additional coronavirus-related restrictions next week, as Health Ministry data released Friday showed the Omicron-driven wave continuing to ebb.
The number of serious patients has remained elevated during the gradual decline in morbidity over the past few days, standing at 1,074 on Friday. But that’s down from Sunday’s 1,259, the highest number recorded in Israel since the onset of the pandemic.
Of those currently in serious condition, 267 are on ventilators.
In total, 2,354 people were hospitalized Friday with COVID-19, of whom 346 were in critical condition, according to ministry figures.
The Health Ministry said serious cases were far more common for the unvaccinated. Among unvaccinated patients 60 and up, there were 361.1 serious cases per 100,000 people, compared with 30.4 for their vaccinated peers.
There were 27,723 new coronavirus cases diagnosed on Thursday, as the number of active cases fell to 303,188. Last month, some 70,000 new cases were diagnosed daily, based on a weekly average, and active cases surged passed 500,000. Experts estimated the true number of cases was much higher.
Of some 135,000 tests conducted on Thursday, the positive test rate was 21.75%, a decrease from a day earlier, when over 25% of tests came back positive.
The transmission rate (measuring the average number of people each infected person spreads the virus to) continued to fall, reaching a value of 0.76 — its lowest figure since October.
The death toll since the start of the pandemic stood at 9,431, with at least 285 fatalities from COVID-19 complications in the past week, the Health Ministry said. That figure marked a 28% decrease in coronavirus deaths compared to the previous week.
Health Ministry officials are expected to discuss easing certain virus restrictions next week, including the recommendation to wear a face mask at outdoor gatherings, according to Hebrew media reports Friday.
There has been no outdoor mask mandate in Israel since April last year, but the ministry had still recommended wearing one while in crowds. Face masks are still required to be worn in indoor public areas.
Earlier this week, Israel further relaxed Green Pass requirements, as the virus wave continued to decline. The document showing proof of vaccination, recovery or a recent negative COVID-19 test, no longer needs to be presented at restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, and hotels.
Proof of a valid Green Pass will still be required upon entry to indoor sites where there is a higher risk for infection, such as event halls and dance clubs.