Experts Warn COVID Deaths Could Reach 250/Week in September

YERUSHALAYIM -
Shaare Zedek hospital team members wearing safety gear as they work in the coronavirus ward of the hospital. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The number of vaccinated COVID-19 patients in Israel listed in serious condition is dropping, but the country is still seeing serious cases rise among the unvaccinated, a new report by researchers at the Hebrew University of Yerushalayim published Tuesday reveals.

The researchers who authored the report are the same group who advise the ministers in the Coronavirus Cabinet, and who predicted the current fourth COVID wave Israel is now battling.

The report said that the current rise in serious COVID cases could lead to a rate of 150-250 deaths per week by the end of August, which could mean 500-1,000 deaths in September alone.

Meanwhile, if the current downward trend of COVID patients hospitalized in serious condition continues, the report said, Israel’s medical centers would see the current wave peak at fewer than 2,000 hospitalized patients at once, and possibly fewer than 1,200.

The experts recommended that the government expand its vaccination campaign, particularly in sectors with low vaccination rates.

Meanwhile, according to the “traffic light” plan that grades cities and towns based on their levels of COVID cases and vaccination, 75% of the population is living in communities graded either red or orange. These include large cities like Rishon LeTzion, Be’er Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Petach Tikva.

On Monday, police handed out 2,266 fines to people for not wearing masks, 97 for violations of the Green Pass program, and 67 to individuals caught violating mandatory quarantine.