In Israel, COVID Infection Rates and Serious Cases Decline Amid Vaccine Campaign

Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati
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Students at a newly reopened school in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Students at a newly reopened school in Jerusalem on Sunday.Credit: Emil Salman
Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati

The COVID-19 infection rate, known as the R number – the average number of people each coronavirus carrier infects – has decreased and currently stands at 0.95, data released by Israel’s Health Ministry shows.

The number of coronavirus patients hospitalized in serious condition has declined to 668. There are currently 1,089 coronavirus patients in hospitals, 264 of whom are in critical condition and 212 who are on ventilators. Among those hospitalized are also 48 pregnant women and new mothers, 10 of whom are in serious condition, and 29 children and teenagers, including five newborns.

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On Sunday, 3,662 new cases were diagnosed. So far, 4,995,253 Israelis have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, while 5,922 have died from the virus.

At the beginning of the week junior high school students returned to in-person classes. However, the impact on infections – if there is one – is still not great according to the figures. The main infections among children are in the 2-9 age group, and as of Monday, 416 preschools were closed after exposure to COVID-19 carriers.

Some 3.5 million Israelis – 39 percent of the population – already have vaccination certificates, which are issued a week after the second vaccination. More than 98 percent of those who have received the first shot come to get the second shot within 25 days, and 1.9 percent were documented as having no justification for not taking the second shot.

The vaccination figures in Israel are very high, and this is impacting the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in serious condition. Among people 50 and older, the vaccination rate is 89 percent. In this age group, 280,000 people have not yet been vaccinated.

There are still 1.3 million people out of the population eligible to be vaccinated who have not received the inoculation. Efforts to persuade them have focused on promises to restore the normalcy that disappeared with the outbreak of the virus.

The Health Ministry has pledged full exemption from isolation for vaccinated people. In addition, vaccination drives are pressing ahead in outlying areas and Arab communities. The public mood is to urge everyone to get the shots, and many employers and organizations are pressuring their employees to be vaccinated.

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