New COVID cases back on the rise in Israel

3,731 people in Israel tested positive for COVID yesterday, the Ministry of Health reports, up from 2,898 week-on-week.

The R basic reproduction number has been above 1 for several weeks, indicating that the virus is again spreading, while the number of patients seriously ill with COVID hospitalized in Israel has risen from a low-point of 83 to 103 over the past week.

Health officials say that it is too early to tell whether this is the start of another serious wave of COVID, or whether so many people in Israel have already previously been infected by the virus that it is unlikely to spread in large numbers.

  • 10% of new cases in Israel have previously been infected, although it is unclear with which variant. In most instances re-infections are lighter than the first infection. It is also unclear which sub-variant of Omicron is currently prevalent in Israel.

Even if a large wave is imminent, it is unlikely that Israel’s hospitals will be overwhelmed.

For every 2,000 new cases of COVID in Israel, there are currently 5-15 serious cases. Once defined as serious, patients have a 50% chance of surviving.

There have been no deaths in Israel from COVID over the past week with an average of one fatality per day in the weeks prior to that.

  • The impact of long-COVID is uncertain but it is very rare in people who have had at least two vaccine doses and are infected with Omicron. With vaccination effects continuing to wane, the Health Ministry recommends a third booster for the general population and a fourth dose for people over 60.

Since the start of the COVID pandemic in early 2020, 10,864 people have died of the virus in Israel and there have been 4.155 million infections, although the latter number is probably much higher as many people who were asymptomatic or had light symptoms were not tested.

Source: Gali Weinreb – Globes

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