The number of serious coronavirus cases in Israel declined to 654 on Wednesday, the lowest in over a week, according to Health Ministry data released Thursday.
The R number, which represents the average number of people that each infected person will go on to infect, rose to 1.14, indicating that the current outbreak is continuing to grow. The figure represents an increase, after it fell below 1 for a few days.
The numbers showed 8,586 people testing positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, with a positive test rate of 5.93 percent. The death toll rose to 7,465.
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When it comes to patients in serious condition, data from the Health Ministry shows that most of them are unvaccinated. In the over-60 age group, there are 151.7 seriously ill per 100,000 people among the unvaccinated. By contrast, in the same age group the number of seriously ill patients who have been vaccinated is 43.5 per 100,000 people, and the number is even lower for those who have taken the booster shot – 4.3. In the under-60 age group, the data shows a similar pattern, but on a smaller scale.
According to the Health Ministry, 2,984,406 people have taken the third dose of the vaccine so far. According to a new Israeli study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the booster shot significantly increases the efficiency of the vaccine in preventing serious illness and death.
That study was based on data analysis of over 1.14 million Israelis over 60 who were inoculated by the end of August. Researchers found that as early as 12 days after the booster administration the infection rate, as well as the rate of serious cases, was over ten times lower for those who received three shots as opposed to just two.