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Sarit Rosenblum
Tel Aviv's Carmel Market full after lifting regulations

Every Israeli is a soldier in the war on coronavirus

Opinion: With the government succumbing to electoral pressure, proving once again that it is ill-prepared to deal with the persistent coronavirus - it is up to us, the people, to take responsibility, and fight the upcoming second wave of the pathogen that has illustrated the government's negligence through every facet of our lives

Sarit Rosenblum |
Published: 05.31.20 , 23:56
To those who still had doubts in its abilities, the events that took place during Shavuot have proven the coronavirus has yet to say die in its battle against humanity.
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  • A moment after we festively celebrated its demise, the pathogen has reawakened and proved we were premature in our eulogies.
    קונים עם מסכות בשוק הכרמלקונים עם מסכות בשוק הכרמל
    Tel Aviv's Carmel Market full after lifting regulations
    (Photo: AFP)
    More than one hundred new cases were identified in a span of one day, by performing a relatively low number of tests.
    This may indeed point that the oh-so-dreaded second wave of infection may already be upon us. The latest outbreak, seen mainly throughout the country’s educational institutions, is of no surprise.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succumbed to demands and approved the widespread reopening of Israel’s educational institutions, even though it was clear that the most basic means of preventing further infection (such as small study groups and obligatory mask wearing) were not being utilized in Israel.
    In any other country where they reopened schools and kindergartens, these requirements - among others - are strictly adhered to.
    “Educational institutions had to open up under certain unenforceable rules, unfortunately, so indeed here is a problem," the Head of Public Health Services at the Ministry of Health, Prof. Sigal Sadecki, admitted in an interview.
    And yet the ministry failed in its professional duty and approved a populist exemption from masks during the recent heat wave in Israel - as if the virus would halt its activity because our children were hot.
    סיגל סדצקי במסיבת העיתונאים של משרד הבריאות בעקבות עליה במספר חולי הקורונהסיגל סדצקי במסיבת העיתונאים של משרד הבריאות בעקבות עליה במספר חולי הקורונה
    Prof. Sigal Sadecki in a press conference due to an increase in the number of infections
    (Photo: Dana Kopel)
    By inspecting the timeline of contagion, the widespread infection now seen at the Hebrew Gymnasium High School in Jerusalem is probably the result of those maskless days of the heatwave.
    Equally disturbing is the fact that again, just like during the first wave, the State of Israel was caught with its pants down. But unlike the first encounter with the virus, which came as some surprise, this time there is no excuse.
    History shows that epidemics come in waves, and another wave of infection has never been a matter of if, but when.
    In spite of this, preparations for the second wave of the coronavirus have not yet been completed.
    אנשים מבלים בכיכר דיזינגוף בתל אביבאנשים מבלים בכיכר דיזינגוף בתל אביב
    Large crowds in Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    This includes, first and foremost, the development of an efficient and rapid system for identifying and isolating potential patients. Such a system will be the only way the state will be able to maintain some sort of routine under the threat of the plague, and prevent us from reaching another statewide quarantine.
    Whether this is a full-blown second wave or not, it is clear to everyone that the government has been negligent in its mission of safeguarding public health.
    The current rise in infections is mostly the doing of we the people.
    Despite long weeks of intense publicity about the importance of social distancing measures - such as wearing a mask and maintaining personal hygiene - in curbing the epidemic, many people simply chose to disregard the rules.
    חוף הים בנתניהחוף הים בנתניה
    Natanya Beach after the lockdown
    (Photo: Ido Erez)
    With this arrogant and disrespectful disregard for these simple and critical guidelines, anyone who ignored these regulations sentenced the old and the sick among us to another brutal house arrest.
    Now is the time to stop for a moment, on all levels, and think about how we choose to manage the coming period.
    Under threat of the virus, you can't have your cake and eat it, i.e. open the economy and disregard regulations.
    We cannot stop the spread of the virus but stage massive concerts. We cannot send kids to school in masks and protective gear and stop them from sweating.
    Reality has proven this simply does not work.
    If we want to maintain both the economy and public health while reducing the number of victims of both the virus and the stagnant economy, there has to be a price.
    Israel will only succeed if everyone will enlists in the cause, from IDF soldiers to yeshiva students in Bnei Brak and patrons of Tel Aviv coffee houses.
    We are in this together - we are one army, with no exemptions.
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