‘Israel has gained control of coronavirus crisis’

Gov’t decides to postpone easing of restrictions until next week.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein visits Rambam Medical Center's new coronavirus unit on July 21, 2020 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein visits Rambam Medical Center's new coronavirus unit on July 21, 2020
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The country has gained control of the coronavirus crisis, researchers at Hebrew University claimed on Thursday in a new report. The number of patients in serious and moderate conditions has stabilized and the doubling rate has hit 27 days.
“The measures taken to curb the pandemic in early and mid-July led to a significant decrease in the rate of infection and an increase in the number of inpatients,” the researchers wrote.
As such, they said there is less concern the hospital system will collapse under the strain of sick patients, something they warned against in their previous predictions. However, the team noted that another 200 people are expected to die from the virus over the next three weeks, due to the high number of people who were infected during the month of July.
The researchers said they believe the drop in infection is directly correlated to the new restrictions, and specifically the decision to ban large gatherings. They said the government likely does not need to roll out any additional restrictions, but warned that the public must be on alert to follow the ones already in place.
“The number of infected people is still high,” they wrote. “As such, there is still concern there could be another wide-scale outbreak.”
The Health Ministry reported Thursday that there were 1,967 people diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 in the last day (7.5% of those tested) and that some 328 patients were in serious condition, including 102 who were intubated. An additional 1,111 people tested positive between midnight and press time.
Six more people died Thursday, bringing the death toll to 499.
The government was expected to decide Thursday to accept the recommendation of Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and new coronavirus commissioner Ronni Gamzu to lift the partial closure on weekends, including allowing stores and malls to open. According to the professionals in the Health Ministry, there is no point in a partial closure.
Edelstein presented the recommendation Thursday evening during a discussion with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Science and Technology Minister Yizhar Shay, Health Ministry Director General Chezy Levy and National Security Council Chief Meir Ben-Shabbat. All but Shay were willing to accept it. However, because of his opposition, the group decided to push off making any changes until the coronavirus cabinet meeting on Monday.
Edelstein planned to still make efforts to get buy-in for canceling the restrictions by Friday morning, but a source close to Shay told The Jerusalem Post that it was unlikely to move forward.
At the cabinet meeting on Monday, Gamzu is also expected to discuss other aspects of his “Shield of Israel” strategic plan, including presenting a uniform procedure for determining restrictions on “green” and “red” cities, among other ideas.
Some 752 people were hospitalized on Thursday, the ministry said. Among the patients are a 13-year-old girl and her mother, both from Ashdod. They are being treated at Assuta Ashdod Medical Center, a spokesperson confirmed.
They arrived at the hospital earlier this week after reportedly being infected at a community event. Media reported that they are not intubated.
The rest of the family – a father and three siblings – are in isolation and in good condition, Channel 13 said.
“We do not know where they were infected, but there were patients in their apartment building and that may be what caused the infection,” a family member told Channel 13. “We’re reading Psalms and praying for their safety.”
In Ashdod, the number of coronavirus patients remains high: 868, according to the Health Ministry.
In general, the number of seriously ill patients has decreased by 45% during this wave in comparison to the first, a Health Ministry document revealed by news site N12 late Wednesday night showed. Moreover, the number of people on ventilators is down 80%. The number of deaths from the coronavirus can also be seen to have decreased by about 80% in the current wave compared to the previous wave.
According to the report there are several reasons for the drops, including a higher number of young and asymptomatic patients, the fact that the elderly and at-risk population is better protected than before and that doctors better understand how to treat seriously ill patients.