Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The British mutant has put the epidemic on an upward trajectory even in the world’s most vaccinated country


After a gradual decline, the rate of spread of coronavirus infection was below 0.8 last week, meaning that every 100 new infections transmitted the virus to an average of less than 80 people, indicating a steady decline in the epidemic.

In the last two days, however, the direction of change has reversed and started to increase again, and this indicator has already risen above 0.8. However, it is still below 1, meaning it is declining for the time being and the number of new infections is not increasing.

It is reassuring, experts say, that only 6 percent of new vectors are older than 60, with a higher proportion of viral infections leading to the development of serious disease.

The epidemic is currently mainly affecting Arab communities, where a British virus version, spreading more rapidly and causing more serious complications, appeared late in these weeks.

Arab settlements lagged behind Jewish-populated towns and villages in the rate of vaccination because they received vaccines with less confidence, and therefore a higher percentage of older people were still unvaccinated and thus more at risk.

Since the start of the vaccination campaign, the Arab minority, members of the Arab communities in the 1948 state, which make up about one-fifth of Israel’s population, have been vaccinated in the same way and to the same extent. Vaccination of Palestinians living in the occupied territories in 1967 who are not Israeli citizens but are visiting Israel was also started on Tuesday.

The ambulance service and the army jointly set up a new vaccination center at the adventure crossing for Palestinians in East Jerusalem who live on the eastern Palestinian side of the separating fence along the eastern side of the city but have an Israeli residence permit.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians in East Jerusalem came to the east side of the separating fence and wall system erected in the early 2000s who have Israeli social security and work permits because they were residents of East Jerusalem when Israel occupied Jordan in 1967.

They have also begun vaccinating some 122,000 Palestinian guest workers in the West Bank who work in Israel every day, usually in construction or agriculture.

The Israeli government will meet on Tuesday night and is expected to vote on a night curfew for the duration of the Purimi weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, from eight in the evening to five in the morning, with which they are primarily trying to prevent the gathering of even less vaccinated young people at the feast of joy.

At the government meeting, at the request of the Blue-White Party, the return of 12-16 year olds to school desks will also be discussed, as they have almost always only been able to participate in distance learning for a year.

On Monday, 84,504 people were vaccinated for the first time and 75,753 for the second time – after three weeks – with a vaccine developed jointly by Pfizer and BioNTech.

Since the start of the vaccination campaign on December 20, 4,459,874 (48.14 percent of the country’s population) have also received the first and 3,075,669 second doses of the vaccine.

Of the 68,730 tests on Monday, 4,677 virus carriers were identified, a 7 percent rate. Since March last year, 757,150 people have been infected with the coronavirus in Israel, which has a population of about 9.3 million. Currently, the Ministry of Health has 41,487 active infections registered, 1,280 patients are cared for in hospitals, 798 of whom are in serious condition, and 256 people are on a ventilator. Since the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Covid-19), 5,604 people have died in Israel since February last year.

Cover image source: Getty Images.





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