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92% of Israel’s COVID-19 fatalities had existing chronic diseases — report

Over 90 percent of those who have died of coronavirus infection in Israel were suffering from chronic ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes, Haaretz reported Tuesday, citing figures it had obtained from the Health Ministry.

The data also showed that the virus had taken its largest toll on those over 70 years old, who make up 80% of the fatalities.

At the time the figures were produced for the newspaper, there had been 3,004 deaths in Israel from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The total stood at 3,030 on Wednesday evening.

Health officials are warning that the country is plunging into a third wave of infections that by next week will require the government to again clamp down on some aspects of public life, in an effort to stave off what would be a third national lockdown since the virus outbreak began earlier this year.

Of the 3,004 who had died by Tuesday, 2,778 had chronic diseases, or 92% of the total, Haaretz reported.

A breakdown showed 1,019 had high blood pressure (34%), 750 had diabetes (25%), 633 had heart issues (21%), 246 had chronic lung disorders (8%), 99 had suppressed immune systems (3%) and 31 had chronic liver problems (1%).

Age also played a key role, with data showing that the average age of virus victims has been 79, and the median age 81.

The largest group of fatalities was among those aged 80-89 with 1,022 deaths — over a third of the total. Among 70- to79-year-olds there were 759 deaths; among those aged 90 or over there were 613.

The report also noted the geographical spread of deaths shows that most occurred in Jerusalem, the country’s most populous city and the one that has had the highest number of virus cases. The capital suffered 358 deaths, almost twice Tel Aviv’s 180. Bnei Brak was next with 146 deaths, followed by Bat Yam (123), Haifa (113), and Ashdod (103).

The most deadly month was October when 957 people died, followed by September with 649, August with 389 and November with 311.

In the first half of December, over 310 people have died.

Israel is set to launch a mass inoculation program next week, aiming to vaccinate 60,000 people a day over the next few weeks with the Pfizer vaccine.

As part of the drive, the Health Ministry division tasked with administering virus efforts for the elderly is preparing to vaccinate the 160,000 residents and staff at the country’s care homes, the report said.

The some 250,000 Israelis over 80 will be among the first given the vaccines, according to the report.

There are 20,112 active COVID-19 patients in Israel, according to Health Ministry figures published Wednesday. Of those, 392 are in serious condition. Since the start of the outbreak, 363,287 people have been diagnosed with the virus in Israel.

Source: TOI