COVID in Israel: Further Decline in Infection Rate

It seems the pandemic is contracting in Israel, but it's still too early to tell how the return to school and Rosh Hashanah gatherings will affect the infection rate

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Coronavirus testing at a school in Binyamina, on Thursday.
Coronavirus testing at a school in Binyamina, on Thursday.Credit: אמיר לוי
Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati

The number of people each COVID carrier infects – known as the R number – is continuing to drop in Israel, Health Ministry data shows, attesting to a downward trend in cases as the booster vaccine drive continues.

The R number currently stands at 0.83 on Thursday, after reaching a three-month low of 0.95 a day earlier. That figure is calculated from the average obtained 10 days earlier; in this case, it reflects the data from August 30, before the new school year started on September 1.

When the R number is below one, the pandemic is contracting.

Over a week after children returned to classes, and as they came back from Rosh Hashanah break on Thursday, 144,454 Israeli students are currently in quarantine after contracting COVID or being exposed to the disease, the Health Ministry reported. On September 2, prior to Rosh Hashanah and a day after the school year began, that number stood at 97,304.

Out of those in quarantine after the Rosh Hashanah holiday, 41,816 were infected with the coronavirus. The ministry also reported that 3,757 school staff are in quarantine, 2,279 of whom are sick.

The number of hospitalized seriously ill COVID patients stands at 680 as of Thursday – six more than on Wednesday – of whom 154 are on ventilators. There are 123 additional serious cases, who have remained in nursing homes or in their own houses, under the observation of their health maintenance organizations.

On Wednesday, 61,600 people were tested for the coronavirus, a relatively low number due to the holiday. About 5.13 percent of those tests came back positive, and 3,247 people were diagnosed with COVID. In contrast, on Monday, which was Rosh Hashanah eve, 183,628 people were tested. It is still too early to know how holiday gatherings affected the infection rate.    

So far, nearly 2.7 million people have received the COVID vaccine booster shot. Among the 680 critically ill patients, 413 have not been vaccinated at all, 179 got two doses and 64 received their third. 

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