Eli Beer, president of United Hatzalah, the country’s second-largest emergency medical service, has been sedated and intubated as of Sunday after contracting the novel coronavirus while on a fundraising trip in Florida.“On Friday evening, he was put on a ventilator to assist his breathing," wrote Mark and Erica Gerson, chairpersons of United Hatzalah. "We expect Eli to be sedated for two days to two weeks and expect he will experience a full, if slow and difficult, recovery." The organization issued a statement on Sunday calling on the public to pray for Beer."URGENT: Public asked to Pray for Eliezer Yehuda ben Chaya, founder & President of United Hatzalah after being placed on a respirator after contracting COVID-19," a post on the Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) Twitter feed read Sunday morning.
Beer was hospitalized last week in the intensive care unit of a Miami hospital, which is where he tested positive for coronavirus.“I am in the ICU and waiting for results tomorrow, but most probably I do have it," Beer told The Jerusalem Post at the time.The next day, he recorded a video in which he told the public, "My situation is difficult, my breathing is getting worse... I need you to keep davening [praying] and keep doing mitzvahs."URGENT: Public asked to Pray for Eliezer Yehuda ben Chaya, founder & President of United Hatzalah after being placed on a respirator after contracting COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/BzaUQVlIbv— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) March 22, 2020
Beer was on a fundraising trip when he got a fever and checked himself into the hospital. He had come in contact with a rabbi of a local synagogue who had also been diagnosed with coronavirus.Florida has a high number of infected people. Over the weekend, the number of cases climbed to 658, according to the Florida Department of Health. Twelve people have died.In a video that, according to United Hatzalah's spokesperson was filmed last Friday, Beer is seen in his hospital bed struggling to breathe and speak. He uses the platform to thank United Hatzalah volunteers and to berate Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman, who he calls "an evil man" that has "worked against Hatzalah."He accuses Litzman of being "a bad person without a good heart" who is "only focused on his personal interests," adding: "Don't worry, our organization will grow. Litzman will not determine how far we will go."The video was not meant to be disseminated, the spokesperson said.