COVID in Israel: Serious Cases Decline, Record Number Get Booster Shot

As Israel opens school year, nearly 115,000 people got their third COVID vaccine shot. Number of new cases approaches 11,000, a record, but other statistics suggest boosters are having a positive effect

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Haaretz
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A coronavirus vaccine is given in Tel Aviv, Sunday.
A coronavirus vaccine is given in Tel Aviv, Sunday.Credit: Moti Milrod
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Haaretz

The number of Israel's coronavirus patients who are in serious condition declined slightly to 719 on Tuesday, a day before the school year begins throughout the country, with most schools set to hold in-person classes.

While the number of new cases recorded on Monday was a record 10,947, other figures suggested that Israel's booster shot drive that began in late July was having positive effects.

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The R number, representing the average number of people a COVID-19 patient will go on to infect, continued its downward trend, reaching 1.09. The rate of positive tests also dipped slightly to 7.65 percent, compared to 7.8 percent on Sunday.

Twenty-five people died of the illness on Monday, bringing the total death toll to 7,043.

With booster shots being made available to everyone over 12 this week, the number of people receiving their third shot on Monday was 114,851, a record number. Over 2.15 million people in Israel have received their booster shot.

Those who do not receive a booster shot will no longer be considered vaccinated as it relates to restrictions if more than six months have elapsed since their second shot, Israel's coronavirus czar said Sunday. That change will go into effect on October 1.

According to the Health Ministry, about half of the new cases on Monday were in students or school staff. The government has placed some restrictions on schools reopening on Wednesday. Teachers who are unvaccinated will be required to get a rapid test twice a week. For grades 8 to 12 in communities defined as hot spots, any class with a vaccination rate of less than 70 percent would have to study remotely (while a class with a higher vaccine rate can come to school). The Education Ministry estimated that roughly 150,000 students in 8th through 12th grade would be expected to study by distance learning in red communities based on the current plan.

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