A medic holds up a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination centre at the Atid al-Najah High School for the Sciences at the city of Taibeh in northern Israel on August 19, 2021
A medic holds up a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination centre at the Atid al-Najah High School for the Sciences at the city of Taibeh in northern Israel on August 19, 2021
Photo: AFP
Medical staff chat inside the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) ward at Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel August 18, 2021

'COVID spread in Israel one of the highest in the world'

Prof. Ran Balicer, who heads panel of experts on pandemic, tells Ynet the country currently has 100 new serious patients a day, which is a huge burden on the health system; adds there is a slowdown in infections among over 60s

Alexandra Lukash, Attila Somfalvi |
Published: 08.19.21, 13:45
The spread of coronavirus in Israel is one of the highest in the world, said a senior Israeli health expert on Thursday.
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  • Israel on earlier this week recorded over 8,000 single-day COVID cases for the first time since February 1, while the tally of severe cases passed the threshold of 600 for the first time since March as the country battles the spread of the delta variant.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Medical staff chat inside the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) ward at Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel August 18, 2021
    Medical staff chat inside the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) ward at Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel August 18, 2021
    Medical staff chat inside the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) ward at Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel August 18, 2021
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Prof. Ran Balicer, who heads a panel of medical professionals advising the Health Ministry on the pandemic, told Ynet in recent days there has been on average an increase of 100 serious coronavirus cases a day.
    "Infection data in Israel today is among the highest in the world, with around 90 to 100 new serious patients a day. These are very complex numbers because 100 new serious patients a day is a huge burden on the health system and therefore a cause for concern."
    The professor added, however, that health authorities managed to curb the spread of the pathogen among the over 60s, who are at risk of developing a serious illness from COVID.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Prof. Ran Balicer
    Prof. Ran Balicer
    Prof. Ran Balicer
    (Photo: Ynet)
    "In the last two days, we have seen a real slowdown in the number of new infections among people aged 60 and over, most of whom are vaccinated with the third vaccine dose," he said.
    "This is important because it is the age group from which most severe cases are originating, but still, 100-90 severe patients a day means the disease has not said its last word."
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Wednesday the Health Ministry will most likely approve the vaccine booster shot for over 40s as soon as Thursday. Prof. Balicer, however, said the issue is "complicated".
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    A medic holds up a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination centre at the Atid al-Najah High School for the Sciences at the city of Taibeh in northern Israel on August 19, 2021
    A medic holds up a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination centre at the Atid al-Najah High School for the Sciences at the city of Taibeh in northern Israel on August 19, 2021
    A medic holds up a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination centre at the Atid al-Najah High School for the Sciences at the city of Taibeh in northern Israel on August 19, 2021
    (Photo: AFP )
    "It will be a complex discussion, the same considerations that led us last week to allow overs 50 [to receive the booster shot] are valid today, although more information has been accumulated since then.
    "Our level of certainty about the effectiveness of booster shots has increased significantly, compared to just two doses."
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