In about a week, Israel can expect 200 patients in serious condition, and by August 10, there should be between 250 and 300, according to Prof. Eli Sprecher, deputy director-general for R&D and innovation and chair of the Division of Dermatology at Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv.Sprecher, working with a team of researchers from the hospital and Tel Aviv University, has created a model to predict how many patients will be severely ill with coronavirus and how many, therefore, might need ventilation. “We are looking at the number of new cases over the past week, and then, because we know it takes between eight and 14 days between infection and deterioration,” the team can predict severe cases, Sprecher said. “We are focused on these cases because they are much more likely to be ventilated, and these are the patients that pose a burden on the health system,” he said.The model takes into account three factors to make its prediction: the number of new cases; the “famous R – the coefficient of infection” (how many people will one infected person infect); and the relationship between severe cases and new cases, based on data that has been gathered since June 1, Sprecher explained.When the “R” goes below one, the virus is being controlled, he said. When it is above one, it is developing. Currently, Israel’s R is around 1:1.21. Since the start of the so-called second wave, it has been as high as 1.4.Sprecher, whose team includes Noa Geismar, Sarah Feldman and Dr. Ofer Sarig from the medical center and Prof. Yoav Benjamini from the university, said: “There is an almost perfect correlation between the number of new cases and the number of tests. The more tests, the more people who are discovered infected.”During the first wave, the Health Ministry did not screen enough people and did not have an accurate picture of who was infected, he said. As more people are diagnosed, they can be isolated and the infection chain can be broken.Moreover, the chance of an infected person deteriorating is about 50% of what it was during the first wave, Sprecher said.“This is very significant,” he said, adding that it is explainable based on the notion that many of the new cases are younger, and young people develop less severe symptoms than older patients. Also, with the increase in testing, many asymptomatic patients are being identified who would have been passed by before.Three hundred severe patients is not a great number, but it is considerably better than some predictions by the Health Ministry, which showed thousands of severe patients and the collapse of the health system.Sprecher said he agreed, but he cautioned that “a model is a model, and there are many things that we cannot forecast with the model,” such as a change in the number of tests or a shift in societal behavior.