One week after the Israeli economy fully opened up, the number of new Covid-19 infections continues to fall. Only 773 new cases were reported yesterday (Saturday) - the lowest daily number since November, down from 1,864 new cases week-on-week. 27,000 tests were carried out, of which 2.9% proved positive. On Friday, 2,398 new cases were reported, down from 3,716 the previous week.
Despite warnings that Purim celebrations two weeks ago in breach of the regulations would cause a new spike, the R rate for transmission has fallen to 0.78. For the sake of comparison, a week after the second lockdown was ended, the R rate had risen to 1.1.
The number of people seriously ill in Israel's hospitals has fallen to 644, down from 1,200 last month, and only 8% of those hospitalized in a severe condition since the beginning of March have been fully vaccinated.
So far 5.13 million Israelis have received at least one Pfizer vaccine dose including 4.13 million who have received both jabs. 85% of people aged over 50 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, falling to 70% of people aged 20-29. 50% of those currently testing positive for Covid are children under 16 who are not eligible for the vaccine.
Prof. Doron Gazit of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who sits on the committee of experts that advises the coronavirus cabinet, said that it was too early to declare that we can return to full routine without any concerns but the current trend is encouraging. He added, "The current fall in the amount of new cases after opening up the economy indicates that the effect of the vaccinations is bigger than we thought. It could be that we have reached a point that allows infection and morbidity to fall even though we don't have herd immunity on paper, and it could be that children aren't acting as a vector of infection like adults and their importance in reaching herd immunity is lower."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 14, 2021
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