Health Ministry: Virus Deaths Drop Sharply as Vaccinations Increase

YERUSHALAYIM -
Workers from Chevra Kadisha Kehilat Yerushalayim, at the Sanhedria Cemetery, Jan. 25. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Health Ministry said Monday that 2,393 people have succumbed to complications related to the coronavirus since the beginning of 2021, with 1,459 succumbing to the disease in January and in a decline, 934 deaths in February. These numbers represent the average of 40 deaths per day.

In the first half of January, there were on average 53 deaths per day and the successful vaccination drive that began in December is part of the reason for the reduction in fatalities, b’chasdei Shamayim.

In fact, in the second half of February, the daily death rate average dropped to 25 virus-related fatalities per day.

Those numbers are still considered to be high in comparison to the last month of 2020, when 488 people died from the virus; an average of 16 deaths per day.

In November, 313 people died from COVID, indicating an average of 10 fatalities a day, while October of 2020 had 957 fatalities, a daily average of 32 deaths as the result of complications from the virus.

According to the Health Ministry data, there has been a reduction not only in fatalities during February, but also in the number of severe cases of COVID-19 being treated in hospitals.

The ministry said that 742 people are currently in serious condition – the lowest that number has been since Jan. 2, representing a 43% reduction. Vaccines are once again credited for the drop in severe illness caused by coronavirus.

But as the over-60s become largely immune through vaccinations, the median age of seriously ill patients has dropped. As of Monday, 57.1% of seriously ill patients suffering from COVID-19 appear to be over 60, while 40% are between the ages of 30 and 59.

One in five patients, 20.2%, are from the 50 to 59 age group, 10.7% are in their 40s, and 7.4% in their 30s.

The Health Ministry also reported on Monday that the factor indicating community spread (R) has risen to 1, up from 0.79 just two weeks ago, raising concerns that the contagion rate is increasing once more.

In the Arab sector, meanwhile, the R is even higher at 1.16, prompting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to convene a special meeting to discuss a low vaccination turnout in Arab communities. The chareidi sector has the lowest R factor, of 0.82.

Netanyahu posted on social media on Monday that 97% of recent deaths occurred in patients who had not received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

“I cannot stand the delegitimization of vaccines from cynical politicians. I have zero tolerance for fake news, while I am fighting to save lives,” Netanyahu said in his post, calling on Israelis to get vaccinated.