After a year filled of struggle and pain, the news that coronavirus infections are steadily dropping all around the world is welcome indeed.
Countries that have suffered a continuous surge of coronavirus infections, such as Canada, India and the U.S., have also reported a drop in infections and a subsequent drop in virus-related fatalities.
This drop in virus cases can also be felt in Israel, which has been trudging in place for the last few weeks despite its successful vaccination rollout.
And while we the human race would have loved to take credit for this dramatic drop in infections, even humanity's brightest minds cannot fully explain why the virus is seemingly receding simultaneously all over the world.
Is it the end of this painful crisis or is the virus merely recalculating before landing another blow from out of leftfield? It seems no one knows for sure, but there are indeed a few worrying signs that point to the battle against the pathogen being far from over.
There’s the South African variant, which has proven partially immune to the vaccines, as well as new, stronger variants that crop up on a daily basis.
Some of these variants have also proven potentially deadly to population groups we thought were immune to the worst of its ravages, such as children.
And then there are the latent side effects in those who recovered from the virus and have seemingly developed partial immunity, which we are only now becoming aware of.
For all of these reasons, we shouldn’t act as if we are free from the yoke of the coronavirus and we must not let our guard down just yet.
There are no two ways about it, we must take advantage of the reprieve we have been given in order to prepare for the virus’ next strike.
Sunday has seen most of Israel’s economy reopen. This is a critical turning point in dealing with the virus. Because while the success of Israel’s vaccination drive provides us with a certain safety net, it is not nearly enough to protect us from another devastating outbreak of the pathogen.
The decrease in daily coronavirus cases has given us a rare opportunity to act wiser and avoid the recurring pitfalls Israel has toppled into during the past year.
The government must take action to prevent the entry of new virus mutations through Ben-Gurion Airport at all costs, while strengthening the country’s exhausted health system.
The government must also realize that opening the education system without obligating teaching staff to vaccinate and without performing extensive and routine tests to detect virus carriers among teachers and students present a real danger of another outbreak.
It must also work to encourage more Israelis to get the vaccine, as well as aid the PA in vaccinating its own people, in order to encourage extensive herd immunity.
Most of all, we must remain vigilant to any spike in infections, as small as it may be, and act swiftly and resolutely to nip it in the bud to stop the next infection wave from overwhelming us.