Is winter bringing a new COVID-19 wave to Israel?

Significant increase in serious COVID-19 cases in Israel in the past week may only get worse as temperatures get colder.

 SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus behind COVID-19 (Illustrative). (photo credit: fusion medical animation/unsplash)
SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus behind COVID-19 (Illustrative).
(photo credit: fusion medical animation/unsplash)

Although hardly anyone still wears a facemask anymore – even in hospitals and community health fund clinics – Health Ministry data shows a significant increase in the number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients

There has been a rise of 41% in seriously ill hospitalized patients – to 117 – in the past week alone. Twenty-six are critically ill. Thirteen people died of complications in the past week – a 19% increase over the previous week. 

Although few people are going for testing a health fund clinics, almost 11,000 have been found positive for the potentially fatal virus, and 1,838 were confirmed to have been infected in the last 24 hours. 

COVID-19 infections to rise in Israel as winter sets in

A total of 11,846 Israelis have died of COVID-19 since the outbreak of the new coronavirus. 

 COVID-19 (illustrative) (credit: TORANGE) COVID-19 (illustrative) (credit: TORANGE)

Although December is upon us, winter has not really come in with a bang with very cold temperatures and rain. When it does, the number of COVID-19 infections – coupled with flu infections that initially have similar symptoms – is expected to rise even more. The ministry has urged Israelis of all ages from the age of six months through adulthood to get a flu shot; people over the age of 65 and those of any age with chronic conditions and weak immune systems should undergo the new Omicron booster shot at their health fund clinic. 

Unfortunately, as expected, the incidence of the Coronavirus and the number of seriously ill patients in hospitals is on the rise, according to COVID-19 project manager Prof. Salman Zarka on Wednesday.

“If about a month ago, three to five new severe cases were admitted to the hospitals every day, this week the numbers climbed up to around 20. This is clear evidence that there is an increase in the damage caused by the virus,” he added. “There is no doubt that we must be more careful and prepared for these diseases.”

Zarka added that when there is an increase infection, it is important to get better protection, and this is by vaccination, wearing a mask when you are in a closed place such as a bus, train, flight or in a supermarket. Unfortunately, this increase indicates that we are on the verge of a wave of COVID-19 and flu morbidity.”

The virus that currently exists in our environment is from the Omicron family. “In the past, we talked about BA5 and today there are more BQs that also belong to the Omicron family,” he said. “I congratulate the 280,000 people who have already made a wise decision and gotten immunized against the new Omicron boost, thus improving their protection against these diseases. As it is not available at all community clinics, make an appointment at where the shot is available. It is suitable for those aged 12 and over and who have passed three months or more since a previous vaccine dose or since recovery.”