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COVID-19 lockdown and restriction policy: Response to those anti multiplicity of opinions

I read carefully the words of Ms. Rochel Sylvetsky on Arutz Sheva.

Her main point is that she laments and resents the multiplicity of opinions and attitudes on the subject of COVID-19.

She suggests resolving all doubts on the subject in the “safe” way:

“When you are in doubt – it’s out.”

Hence her support for the Israeli government’s approach: through sweeping closures and restrictions over the entire population, despite the heavy cost involved.

I, on the other hand, have been calling since the beginning of the outbreak, even more vigorously – to focus all resources, resourcefulness, and talent that exist in the State of Israel, on the protection of the elderly and those at-risk only. In this population the morbidity and mortality is significant, and everything must be done to prevent them.

In contrast, among young and healthy people, the risk of significant disease and mortality is extremely low and they should be allowed a routine life while acquiring resistance to the virus.

In this way, immune depth will soon be achieved and the outbreak will pass and allow a quick return to life, also for the at-risk population.

In this way, great economic and human harm can be averted, and many lives saved.

The government’s approach – the method of lockdowns and restrictions – has collapsed the economy, education, culture, and tourism, and achieved only the endless prolongation of the outbreak, which is expected to eventually lead to an increase in elderly infections.

The reason:

The at-risk population not only did not receive the maximum protection, but also could not be isolated and shut up endlessly while the morbidity and mortality among them rises.

In a virus that is transmitted by droplets, in which the vast majority of those infected are asymptomatic or with only mild illness, the method of lockdowns and “cutting the chains” is impossible to realize.

Lockdown will reduce infection, that will return and rise in the end.

That’s why the recent report on the COVID-19 outbreak in 50 nursing homes was so predictable, with all the tragic consequences that this entails.

Hence the “Beit Shammai” approach offered by Ms. Sylvetsky is not at all the “strict approach” in the important sense of saving lives but vice versa – it is the approach that increases mortality, and in the most significant way.

In addition:

Ms. Sylvetsky calls for a little humility on the part of so-called “experts” of all types, and supports empathy towards the Israeli government, where decisions are made at the end of long and stormy meetings.

Standing behind my above approach, which is also the Common Sense Model approach, are hundreds of doctors and scientists in Israel, and tens of thousands worldwide.

Indeed, Ms. Sylvetsky is right that this does not necessarily mean that this approach is correct.

But it does compel an in-depth examination, turning every stone in an attempt to examine its possible application – because if it does contain truth, it may save so many lives and prevent human suffering and destruction on a huge scale.

The reality, however, is different:

From internal Health Ministry sources I know that an approach such as mine has been discussed in the Health Ministry at the beginning of the outbreak – but it was blocked then and is also blocked today by the Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, who prevents any possibility of discussing the substance of the matter.

I do not know what led the Prime Minister to act as he did. I am not versed in the political field and I do not want to understand it. (I must note that I voted for Netanyahu in the last election, I supported him, and always judged him favorably. No more.)

No real leadership has been shown in the current crisis: There’s nothing easier than to impose lockdowns and restrictions. Everything is simple when you do not take a risk.

In this way we free ourselves from the need for a meaningful decision – which always involves doubts and taking risks – for something that is of great importance to us and for the sake of which we are willing to sacrifice.

Ben-Gurion took a huge risk in declaring the State of Israel and so did Begin in his decision to bomb the reactor in Iraq. Both must have been tormented by sharp doubts, but made great and fateful decisions for the people, whom they loved so much.

I assume that Netanyahu would not have acted as they did.

Advisors to the Prime Minister, such as Prof. Waxman, Segal, Schwartz, Gazit, Barbash and National Security Council head Ben Shabbat – lack a shred of compassion for those who pay the price for their advice.

This is evident in the absence of any attempt on their part to listen honestly and with genuine openness to another way, which may prevent so much suffering.

These consultants – not only do not pay any personal price, but on the contrary – they gain fame and a spotlight that they could not dream of getting in any other way but echoing the Prime Minister’s ruthless approach.

The bitter lesson that was supposed to be learned from being “stuck in a concept” in the Yom Kippur War – we haven’t learned at all.

The National Security Council is not fulfilling its role in presenting the alternate position but on the contrary, it empowers and radicalizes the Prime Minister’s approach, besides which there can be no other.

The repeated failure of lockdowns and restrictions has not been learned and instead of learning lessons from mistakes, we repeat them and reinforce them.

With sorrow and hope for attention and openness,

Source: Dr. Shmuel Rochberger – Arutz Sheva

Dr. Shmuel Rochberger – Internal medicine and gastroenterology specialist and Hesder Yeshiva in Shaalvim graduate.