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As Israel weighs return to school, it has no seriously ill patients under 19

Amid government discussions of possibly reopening kindergartens and elementary schools during the first week of May, the latest Health Ministry figures show that Israelis who have fallen seriously ill with COVID-19 thus far were all aged 20 and over.

According to Health Ministry updates sent out on Saturday, Israel has 15,148 confirmed patients with coronavirus, including 130 in serious condition, of whom 102 are on ventilators; 198 Israelis have died of the disease, and over 6,000 have recovered (a number included in the tally of total cases).

A majority of patients in serious condition, 30.5 percent, have been between 70-79 years of age, according to a Health Ministry breakdown by age group. Over 32% of patients in this age group have also required mechanical ventilation intervention.

Over 22% of seriously ill patients are aged 60-69, 12% are between 50-59 years of age, and just under 7% are aged 40-49, according to Saturday’s updates. Among the 30-39 age group, just 3% have been seriously ill, a number that drops by half to 1.5% for those aged 20-29. There are no seriously ill patients at 19 and under.

The disease has been deadliest for those aged 80 and over. Nearly 40% of all deaths in Israel as a result of the pathogen have been residents of nursing homes.

Israel’s youngest victim was a 29-year-old woman who had been sick with a terminal illness before catching the virus.

“The reinstatement of the education system will come at the cost of human lives,” Health Ministry deputy director Itamar Grotto warned Thursday during an Army Radio interview.

“This is not the time to let our guard down. Chances are there will be a second outbreak wave. We see a possibility that thousands will need to be on ventilators,” he added.

The Bank of Israel said Thursday that the shutdown of the education system was costing the economy around NIS 2.6 billion ($737 million) per week as many households have had to keep one parent tending to children instead of working.

Source: TOI