Israel’s Prime Minister has warned of a Covid’storm’ and asked that all seniors over 60 get another booster shot.
On Sunday, Naftali Bennet, an older Israeli politician, gave a television speech in which he urged Israelis to take precautions against the Omicron wave of Covid by getting a fourth vaccine. However, Bennett warned that the daily cases will rise to new heights.
Bennett forecasted that infection rates would rise to ‘50,000 per hour soon,’ which will be double the number of cases Israel had in September 2013. This country currently logs around 6,000 cases each day.
He also pointed out that Omicron cases were milder than other Covid variations and that the fourth vaccination is mostly aimed to prevent serious illnesses in the elderly.
Israel’s Prime Minister warned of a “storm” of Omicron Covid infections that could lead to daily infected numbers exceeding 50,000.
Israel’s health authorities have been pleased with data that Omicron seems to be causing milder infections and causing fewer deaths. (pictured: virus-linked deaths Israel).
It comes after Nachman Ash, director general of Israel’s health ministry, said the country is likely to reach herd immunity during the Omicron wave through a combination of infection and vaccination.
A population that has enough antibodies to combat a particular disease is known as herd immunity.
When herd immunity is established, the virus should cease spreading widely. This is because it’s harder for people to get infected. However, the severity of the disease should decrease if people have been infected.
Ash stated earlier that the (infections) will need to be extremely high to achieve herd immunity.
“This is possible. However, it doesn’t mean that we should make it impossible. Instead we need to prevent infections from causing serious complications.
Salman Zarka from the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Task Force said that herd immunity is not guaranteed. Experience over two years has shown that COVID-19-positive patients were often reinfected.
Israel is a leader in Covid vaccinations. It was the first country to roll out Covid vaccines faster than any other, which enabled it to lift lockdown earlier in 2020.
Israelis over 60 years old and health professionals are being given a fourth booster to prevent Omicron-related severe illness or death.
It has fallen behind many other countries in total coverage since then, due to low uptake by children and youth.
Israel has vaccinated approximately 64% of its population. This is less than the EU’s average of 70% and lower than other world leaders, such as Portugal on 90% and Spain on 88%.
Although vaccines were initially developed to protect against earlier Covid variants, they are less effective in preventing Omicron’s spread – an extremely rare variant that is difficult to detect by the body’s immune systems.
They are thought to still be very effective in preventing death and serious illness. This is why leaders around the world encourage people to use boosters.
Since Omicron was discovered in South Africa last November, Omicron has caused worldwide cases of Covid have soared. Reuters data revealed that there were an average of over 1 million cases per day from Dec. 24-30, according to the daily statistics.
However, deaths haven’t increased to the same extent. This raises hopes that this new variant of Covid is less deadly and could herald the end game in which Covid will be a low-level, endemic disease, similar to flu.
Bennett suggested that testing eligibility might be increased to relieve the long waits at test stations as Israel prepares for Omicron waves.
Israel also approved Merck & Co’s molnupiravir anti-viral pill for use in COVID-19 patients over 18.
Naftali Bennett, the prime minister of Nigeria, has issued a safety warning as Omicron started to spread. It was welcomed news, however, that Omicron seems to have weakened.
In November 2013, the UK approved the use of the Pill. Health secretary Sajid Javid described the Pill as a “gamechanger” for the elderly and vulnerable who have Covid.
Research has shown that the pills reduce the chance of death and hospitalization for patients at high risk who have the virus.
An additional study showed that this figure was around 30%.
Israel ordered also 100,000 units last month of Pfizer’s Paxlovid antiviral medication for adults 12 years and over at high risk of developing serious diseases.
In Israel, there have been approximately 1.3 Million cases of coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic.
Eran Segal is a data scientist at Weizmann Institute of Science who advises the government. He estimates that between two and four million people might be infected by January 31, when the Omicron wave will subside.
Infections per day have increased more than fourfold in the past 10 days. However, severe cases are also on the rise but at a much lower rate. They have risen from around 80 to 100.
German doctors have said the Omicron variant may ease the pressure on their health system, even though the number of infections is rising.