Amnon Shashua: No need for another lockdown

Amnon Shashua / Photo: Rafi Kotz, Globes

The Intel SVP tells "Globes" that the million Israelis with underlying conditions who are endangered by Covid-19 should be given special protection.

At the peak of the Covid-19 crisis, when the Israeli government was forming its policies, Intel SVP, Mobileye CEO Prof. Amnon Shashua was mobilized to help. He took part in brainstorming sessions and set up a team to develop mathematical models and even presented his own plan for exiting the crisis. Since then he has been less involved in the subject but despite the rise in the number of new virus infections, he warns against returning to lockdown.

He told "Globes," "I've completed my reserve duty. I delved deeply into the subject for a month and a half. That was my contribution. We are talking about a virus that can be examined through mathematical models and computer science tools that do not exist in ordinary epidemiology."

Did we exit lockdown too soon?

"No. We got to a situation where about ten people were ill. I do think that it is a mistaken strategy to report how many people have tested positive because that is a function of the level of testing. The important statistics are how many people are on ventilators and how many patients are seriously ill. That figure is growing very slowly. Israel is in a good position. We must carry on obeying the instructions and explaining how people are really infected."

"If you ask me, you need to solve preventing the collapse of hospitals, and then you can accurately define what resources the country has and if we are close to realizing them. When you look at it that way, then the factor that could lead to the collapse of hospitals is the high-risk population, a group encompassing about one million people with a combination of age and many underlying illnesses. It's possible to tell these people that they are at risk, give them a special ID and protect them. For example, they shouldn't need to stand in line at the supermarket and people should let them through to the head of the line."

"The moment that you correctly define the problem, then the solution becomes most simple. Israel has reached a point where it cannot impose another lockdown. There would be a rebellion here. At the starting point of the crisis, when we didn't have information, we saw what was happening in Italy and we panicked - and understandably so. Today, we do have information. Young people are not prepared to have their livelihoods jeopardized and their economic base torn apart and so today the existing tool box is not what it was. The only tool is focus. The decision makers must understand this.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 2, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Amnon Shashua / Photo: Rafi Kotz, Globes
Amnon Shashua / Photo: Rafi Kotz, Globes
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