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Prof. Udi Qimron: ‘History will judge the hysteria’

Prof. Udi Qimron will soon head the Department of Microbiology and Clinical Immunology at Tel Aviv University.

In an interview with Yediot Ahronot, Qimron shed further light on the coronavirus.

“There is a very great interest for anyone who has supported the draconian measures taken around the world to say that Sweden’s policy has failed. Because if it succeeded, and trillions went down the drain for no reason, someone will have to answer for it.”

“That is why all over the world they prefer to claim that [Sweden] was wrong.

But in the end, the truth came to the surface. In a world where decision makers, their advisers and the media were able to admit their mistake and the initial panic that gripped them, we would have long since returned to routine.

The ongoing destruction due to the inability to admit this mistake, despite the epidemic’s small mortality numbers, is outrageous. History will judge the hysteria.”

“If we had not been told that there was an epidemic in the country, you would not have known there was such an epidemic and you would not have done anything about it,” he said emphatically.

“The fact that this issue runs all day in the media inflates it beyond its natural dimensions. If black death had raged here, as in the 14th century, you would not have had to follow the situation in the news, the bodies would have piled up in the streets. We were not and we are not in this situation today.”

Prof. Qimron noted that the total number of coronavirus deaths does not exceed 0.1% of the total population in any country, and the death rate from coronavirus is less than 0.01% of the total world population, meaning that 99.99% of the world’s population so far has survived the epidemic and the virus is negligibly lethal.

He said smart behavior would be the opposite of what we do today; populations not at risk should become infected and create chains of immunity, which will protect the sick and the elderly. We are currently working for sweeping social distancing, which prevents such differential immunity, he said.

He went on to explain that infection of children is a welcome thing, because it protects at-risk populations. “For the same reason, I would open up the whole education system, because the vast majority is made up of people who are not at risk. Of course a solution needs to be found for teachers suffering from diabetes or other background diseases, but I see no reason to prevent activities that encourage the economy. Not only because it allows parents to go to work, but also because it lowers mortality in the long run. I would also ask children and young people to take off their masks. Of course, it is impossible to force a child to take off a mask, but proper information will do the job.”

“At the same time, I would call on at-risk populations, our parents and people with background illnesses, to avoid social gatherings in the coming months until we reach the appropriate immune depth. It is possible and desirable to recommend at-risk populations to wear masks. I would also open the skies and abolish the isolation obligation for those returning from abroad. With the situation of carriers abroad compared to within Israel, there is no reason to isolate tourists, just as you and I are not isolated even though we have an even higher probability than that of a random tourist from abroad to be a carrier. These are things that got into our minds four months ago and we do not understand that their time has passed,” he added.

Source: Arutz Sheva


Udi Qimron is a Full Professor in the Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. His lab studies the adaptive immune system of bacteria: the CRISPR-Cas. This fascinating system specifically adapts to defend prokaryotes against newly encountered phages by launching a specific RNA-guided attack against their nucleic acids. He also studies novel phage interactions with their bacterial hosts, and particularly interactions with defense systems such as CRISPR-Cas. These basic studies are translated to projects aiming at reversing antibiotic resistance and consequently countering the threat from antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

Qimron is a recipient of the Bergmann Award for outstanding research from the US-Israel Binational Fund, and of a Starter and a Consolidator European Research Council grants.

Qimron can be reached at:

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