Health Ministry Figures Show Most Infections Caught at Home

israel coronavirus lockdown
A roadblock last week in the central Israeli town of Ramle. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Figures released by the Health Ministry at a Knesset coronavirus committee meeting on Sunday show that many people catch the virus at home.

The figures cover the period from July 10 to July 16, and only the smaller subset of infected subjects were tested in epidemiological studies where the source of infection could be traced.

Weekend closures, which are on the table at the moment, stand to reduce the number of infections in Israel by as much as 20%, contended Deputy Director General of the Health Ministry Itamar Grotto at the meeting. He noted that currently Israel is among the countries with the highest number of sick patients out of those tested.

“I am worried about the situation,” he said. “The hospitals are currently packed with patients and are teetering on the edge of being able to sustain the load. We see at the moment that the time between when a person enters the hospital until he deteriorates is around two weeks.

“Today, we see in the hospitals the morbidity of two weeks ago,” he continued. “Looking ahead, the situation will go up and up. Even if today, the whole country is locked down and no one leaves their homes, we will see a continuation of the infection.”

Grotto said that even one person can “create a huge chain of infection,” citing one graduation party in Raanana and a wedding in Dimona in which dozens of people caught the virus.

Grotto’s comments came on the backdrop of the report by the Health Ministry that examined the origin of infection of nearly 8,000 people. The origin of infection for the majority of patients is unknown. However, of those for whom it is known: 67% were infected at home; 9.5% at educational institutions; 5.6% at large gatherings or events; 4.8% in religious institutions and 4% at recreational activities; restaurants and bars count for another 4%.

A total of eight cases came from abroad. Four came from pools, and another 24 cases came from sporting activities.

This is the first time in months that the ministry has released any official data on where people are being infected.

Analysts questioned why were shuls, yeshivos and mikvaos listed together, when yeshivos could be listed under educational institutions and mikvaos could’ve been under swimming pools.

Journalist Kalman Liebskind wrote: “The only thing that connects a shul, a yeshivah and a mikveh is that they are used by kippah-wearing people. A special thank you to the people of the Health Ministry who did not include the separate beaches, the herring shops and the Torah wing in Maasiyahu in this section.”

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