COVID Continues to Shrink in Israel, Serious Cases in Decline

The R number, representing the average number of people a COVID patient will go on to infect, dropped to 0.8

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A health worker administers a rapid COVID test in Jerusalem, on Thursday.
A health worker administers a rapid COVID test in Jerusalem, on Thursday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati

The number of serious COVID cases in Israel continued to decline on Friday, according to the latest data from the Health Ministry, as did the R number, representing the average number of people each carrier infects.

The R number, of the infection coefficient, dropped to 0.8, down from 0.83 on Thursday. When the R number is below one, the pandemic is contracting. But that figure is calculated from an average obtained 10 days earlier; in other words, it reflects the data from August 30, before the new school year started on September 1.

The number of seriously ill patients also dropped to 672 on Friday, down from 680 on Thursday. More than half of them, according to the Health Ministry's figures, are not vaccinated.

Of those in serious condition, 173 are in respirators.

The Health Ministry meanwhile registered 7,813 new cases, compared to 3,299 the day before, a relatively low number due to fewer people being tested over the Jewish New Year holiday. 

On Thursday, data from the Health Ministry showed that the number of school-age children and teens in quarantine had gone up 85 percent since the school year opened, with 102,000 students currently in isolation. 

Despite the sharp rise in quarantined children, principals are complaining of a lack of response from the Education Ministry unit responsible for collecting data on students and teachers who have fallen ill with the virus, and about vague guidelines on distance learning.

“During the holiday I became a kind of district physician, contact tracer, Home Front Command representative and the one that parents get angry at because of guidelines that were written with almost no understanding of what’s happening on the ground,” said an elementary school principal in the center of the country.

So far, 2,763,886 million people have received the COVID vaccine booster shot, while 5,531,673 got two shots, and 6,031,635 got the first.

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