Health Official: Second Wave Is Upon Us

Sanitizing the President’s Residence on Sunday after a coronavirus case turned up among the staff. (Tomer Reichman)

On a day when Health Ministry officials were sounding the alarm about a second wave of coronavirus, the number of new cases dipped again, suggesting that the upward trajectory of recent days may be turning around.

Prof. Sigal Sadetzky, the head of health services at the Health Ministry, told a Knesset committee on Sunday that the country is seeing a second wave of the coronavirus.

“We had a long period of more than two weeks with a calm of less than 20 infections a day, and it started to climb and climb, and now we are seeing close to 200 new sick people a day,” she said.

“What characterizes the wave we are seeing now is that it’s across the country, we don’t really know how to identify at-risk groups. We see it running all around and spreading over a very wide geographical area,” she added.

Earlier in the day, outgoing Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman Tov was also downbeat, as he told Kan news that “the recent increase in the number of infected patients has surprised me. I was expecting a longer calm period.”

Bar Siman Tov said that Israel’s easing of the restrictions was “too much.”

“If we want to be optimistic, then we can see that the rate of increase is slower than it was earlier,” he noted. “I really believe that the curve can be flattened this time without extra closure measures. We need to understand that the coronavirus will continue to accompany us for a long time.”

However, Health Ministry figures released on Sunday evening showed new cases dipping below 100 for the first time in over a week.

The 72 new cases brought the national total to 19,055.

It’s the first time since June 6 that the number was less than 100.

One additional death was recorded on Sunday night, a 26-year-old who died from complications resulting from COVID-19 at Sheba Medical Center.

There are 33 patients in serious condition, with 24 of them on ventilators, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the President’s Residence was disinfected on Sunday after a staff member was diagnosed with the disease over the weekend.

Ten members of President Rivlin’s team were sent into isolation, excluding Rivlin himself, who was not exposed.

The IDF confirmed that coronavirus was found in one of the Intelligence Units last Thursday, necessitating isolation for several combat support soldiers.

The army said a total of 245 soldiers have been diagnosed with coronavirus, all with mild symptoms, with 28 currently active cases. Some 1,058 soldiers are in isolation.