Data released by the Health Ministry showed that a slight majority of Israel’s coronavirus fatalities were men, a statistic that appears in line with a global trend, and the city that saw the highest death rate was Jerusalem.
The Health Ministry figures are Israel’s official tally and only include deaths in hospitals or assisted living facilities. It is unknown whether there have been fatalities in private homes or other locations. As of Sunday, the ministry said 103 people have died of the virus.
According to the Health Ministry figures released Saturday, which are based on 96 fatalities and were collated last week, 51 men died in Israel from COVID-19, compared with 45 women. This appears to tally with statistics from Asia and Europe, where a slightly higher proportion of fatalities were male.
Globally, men are statistically more likely to smoke, which is thought to possibly play a role in susceptibility to COVID-19, and men are also more likely to have underlying problems that could act as a contributing factor, such as heart disease. In addition, there are some studies that suggest hormones may play a role in the severity of the disease.
Israel’s oldest victim was 98 years old and the youngest was 37 years old. The majority of those who died were over the age of 70, according to the figures. Almost all of those who have died from COVID-19 in Israel have suffered from preexisting conditions, according to hospital officials.
The city that has seen the largest number of fatalities among its residents is Jerusalem — 22 people who lived in the capital have died as a result of COVID-19, according to the Health Ministry, almost a quarter of all deaths. Jerusalem is also the largest city in the country.
Eleven people from the southern city of Beersheba have died as a result of the virus, according to the calculations made last week, a number that reflects the outbreak at the city’s Mishan assisted living facility, which is now reportedly at the center of a police probe into alleged negligence.
The novel coronavirus has been spreading quickly in nursing homes around the country, raising intense concern for the safety of elderly residents.
The ministry on Sunday released figures on infection rates within cities that revealed that the predominantly ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak has the highest concentration of virus cases, with 925 infections diagnosed per every 100,000 people.
The Tel Aviv suburb has been closed off from the rest of the country but on Friday restrictions were eased somewhat, with residents allowed to travel outside the city for work and some other essential needs.
The second highest rate is in the ultra-Orthodox town of Kiryat Ye’arim, which has 683 cases per 100,000. Jerusalem has a relatively low overall rate of 214 cases per 100,000 people, but previous statistics have shown that the proportion is much higher in certain neighborhoods than others within the capital.
Several Jerusalem neighborhoods with high coronavirus infection rates will be locked down starting Sunday afternoon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said. The order to close off parts of the capital was approved by the government following a late-night cabinet meeting and days of discussion on how to contain the spread of the virus in the capital.
The Health Ministry on Sunday morning said two people died of COVID-19 overnight, taking Israel’s death toll to 103. According to Health Ministry figures Sunday morning, Israel has 10,878 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 174 in serious condition and 123 people on ventilators. Another 155 people were in moderate condition, the ministry said, with the rest having mild symptoms.
Israeli health officials are expecting a surge in coronavirus deaths in the next 10 days, according to a Friday report.
The rise in deaths does not signify an increase in infections, however. Patients who are already hospitalized and on ventilators are likely to succumb to the virus in the coming days, according to predictive models from the Health Ministry, Channel 13 reported.
Experts have pointed to the relatively slow rise in the number of patients on ventilators as a source of potential encouragement, and also note the relatively slow rise in the number of new cases.