Israel has seen another rise in serious COVID-19 cases, the Health Ministry said Wednesday, the day before the country is set to exempt schoolchildren from quarantine if they are exposed to a carrier.
Meanwhile, the organization representing Israel’s pediatricians reversed course on Wednesday and urged that plans to exempt school students from quarantine be put on hold.
“We’re waving a red flag,” the chairman of the Israel Pediatric Association, Prof. Tzahi Grossman, told Kan Reshet Bet public radio on Wednesday. “It’s still not too late to change the decision.”
According to Tuesday's data, Israel now has 888 serious cases, of which 187 are on ventilators. In addition, a full 76,017 people tested positive for the virus and the rate of positive tests stood at 21.83 percent.
The R number – the average number of people each coronavirus carrier infects – now stands at 1.17.
The R number is calculated from data from the previous 10 days, and any number above 1 indicates that the virus is actively spreading.
The 6 percent unvaccinated adults over age 60 account for 32 percent of serious cases and 35 percent of COVID deaths this past month.
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Per capita, for every vaccinated serious case over age 60, there are 8 unvaccinated serious cases. For every death of a vaccinated person, there are 8 deaths of unvaccinated individuals.
The average number of people dying from coronavirus complications has witnessed a steep hike over the past days, hitting 40 deaths a day, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
At the height of the third COVID wave in Israel a year ago, daily deaths peaked at about 60, and remained under 30 during the delta wave late last year. Since the pandemic erupted in Israel, 8,502 people have died from coronavirus complications.
So far, 4,431,086 have received the booster shot and 611,073 have received a fourth jab.
On Tuesday, the expert panel advising the Health Ministry on the coronavirus recommended offering a fourth shot to Israelis aged 18 and above, on condition that five months have passed since they received a third shot or recovered from the disease.
The recommendation, which will expand Israel's limited fourth vaccine rollout for Israelis above 60 and at-risk adults, still awaits approval by the Health Ministry director-general before implementation.