A top Israeli health expert said on Tuesday the apparent decline in new coronavirus figures is an "optical illusion," indicating nothing but a slight stagnation of the virus in the country.
Over the past few days, the number of new daily COVID-19 cases has consistently been lower than the 2,000 diagnoses seen over the month of July, prompting some officials to indicate the outbreak in on the decrease.
Prof. Ron Blitzer, who is part of Health Ministry's coronavirus task force and heads the innovation department at Clalit Health Services, told Ynet "the decrease in the percentage of newly-infected is an optical illusion".
"If we take away the survey [coronavirus] tests in nursing homes, what we see is a constant increase in new infections throughout the month of July," he said. "There is no decrease in the number of infections, but a stabilization of the increase, which we saw in the country for many weeks."
He said although the stabilization is welcome, it still puts a heavy burden on the health system. "We will not be able to take this for long. It produces an overload for the health system and pushes it dangerously close to its limits," he added.
"What is needed at this time is a broad framework for the future, aimed at lowering the R, which is the percentage of infections, the number of daily infections and the seriously ill. Only then, can we safely enter the month of September, the High Holidays and the start of the school year."
The professor, however, added he is not advocating for another nationwide lockdown, which he said should only be used as a last resort.
"Lockdown at this time is not on the agenda yet due to the stabilization that we see. Closure is a quick and effective solution for lowering the infection rate, but it has an unbearable cost that affects the economy, society and public health."