Assuta Hospital Chairman: Third Coronavirus Wave ‘on Its Way’

Israeli firefighters wearing protective clothes disinfect Assuta hospital in Ashdod, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (Flash90)

A new upward trend of coronavirus infections has been noted in Israel, after several weeks of the spread easing, with many health professionals already considering the possibility of a third, a perhaps even a fourth, virus outbreak.

“We know enough about the virus to see just how stubborn it is. It will continue to spread and without us doing what needs to be done, we’re likely to see additional outbreaks so long as the vaccine hasn’t arrived,” said Professor Shuki Shemer, chairman of Assuta Medical Center in Ashdod, during an interview with Radio 103FM on Thursday.

“All the restrictions are in place in order to slow down the infection rate,” noted Shemer.

“You can see the same pattern everywhere you look: infections increase, there’s a lockdown and the numbers slow down, and then once the lockdown measures are eased, another outbreak sets in.”

Shemer acknowledged that, “even with all the restrictions in place, there is no fool-proof procedure for stopping the virus. You lower the infection rate, but when you start reopening things, you take a risk of the numbers going up again. A certain balance must be maintained between the national economy and the public wellbeing.

“These are all important measures,” he agreed, but they are to no avail when we fail to prevent mass gatherings and weddings.

“Just take a look what happens on the weekends in Hayarkon Park [in Tel Aviv] or in Ben Shemen Forest.

“No one knows where it came from. Suddenly, you find yourself at the corona ward and with many difficulties ahead,” he said.

“As a society, we’ve failed to enforce our policy, cancel every wedding with hundreds of participants and every [Arab] Temple Mount prayer service of 12,000 people.

“Let’s all be careful. If we hope to stand in the way of getting sick, we need to maintain social distancing and wear masks outdoors to prevent this terrible disease.”

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