For First Time Since Oct., Israel Reports 2% COVID Rate

YERUSHALAYIM -
A health care worker takes test samples of Israelis in a drive through complex to check if they have been infected with the coronavirus in Yerushalayim, last week. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel on Sunday reported that the country’s coronavirus infection rate has surpassed two percent for the first time since October.

The Health Ministry said 760 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Shabbos after more than 37,000 tests had been conducted, putting the contagion rate at 2.07% – the highest the figure has been since the start of October.

The virus’ reproduction number, R (which measures the number of people that one infected person will pass on the infection to), has also increased and now stands at 1.41.

Last week, 9,020 Israelis tested positive for coronavirus, meaning an average of some 1,300 new cases a day.

The figure represents a 85% increase in the number of verified cases compared to the week before.

Professor Eran Segal, a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science and an expert on COVID-19 in Israel, estimated that with about 440 omicron cases a day and a documented R of 3.35, Israel will be contending with over 10,000 a day within two weeks.

The number of patients in severe condition is once again edging towards 100, with 98 currently suffering from serious symptoms – 82.5% of whom are not vaccinated. Of that number, 39 are connected to ventilators.

At least 47 of all severely ill patients below the age of 60 (96%) were not vaccinated at all, one was vaccinated six months ago and another is fully vaccinated.

Since the start of the pandemic in Israel, 8,242 people have succumbed to the disease. Since the beginning of December, 40 COVID patients died in Israel, 10 of them under the age of 60.

Those below the age of 60 who succumbed to the disease were not vaccinated at all.