On Tuesday morning the number of serious patients stood at 138, compared to 124 on the day before.

Man walks into Aroma wearing a mask (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Man walks into Aroma wearing a mask
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The authorities are working at full speed to decide whether senior citizens should receive a third dose of coronavirus vaccine, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday.

There were 2,100 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 145 patients in serious condition, the Health Ministry reported.

“We have been dealing with it, believe me, for a month now,” Bennett said while visiting the Migdal Nofim assisted-living facility in Jerusalem, Hebrew media outlets reported. “There are things that need to be allowed to develop. We are very close. The less we talk about it, the higher the chance it will happen.”

Nursing-home and assisted-living facilities have paid a heavy price during the pandemic. The first victim of COVID-19 in Israel, 88-year-old Holocaust survivor Aryeh Even, was living at Migdal Nofim.

Bennett visited the facility with Social Equality and Pensioners Minister Meirav Cohen (Yesh Atid).

More than half of the current cases and two-thirds of patients in serious condition were fully vaccinated, the Health Ministry reported.
The rise in serious morbidity has been relatively limited compared with general morbidity. At the beginning of June, out of fewer than 200 active cases, about 20 patients were in serious condition. Today, with more than 13,000 active cases, 145 patients are in serious condition.

Health officials and experts are concerned that the protection granted to the most vulnerable sectors of the population who were vaccinated first has been waning. Most of the vaccinated people in serious condition today are elderly.

Israel was preparing to give senior citizens a third shot if the decision is made, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) said Monday while visiting the coronavirus ward at Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva.

Most of the experts advising the Health Ministry support the move in principle, even though the debate has been very heated, since a third shot has not obtained the authorization of the US Food and Drug Administration or any other major health authorities, Hebrew media outlets reported.

Israel is said to be working with Pfizer to move up the next shipments of vaccines to enable the third booster shot.
Some 2,112 new cases were registered on Monday, with some 95,000 tests processed in 24 hours, the highest numbers since March, the Health Ministry reported.

The positive rate stood at 2.3%, marking an increase from previous days. On Sunday, some 1,400 cases were registered out of about 72,000 tests.

On Tuesday, there were 145 patients in serious condition, up from 124 on Monday and 97 on Sunday, more than double the number last Tuesday.
The reproduction rate, or R, which measures the number of people each virus carrier infects on average, continued to be over 1, indicating that the outbreak is still expanding (an R lower than 1 would show that the disease is receding). On Tuesday, it was 1.33.

Out of the people who tested positive over the last 24 hours, some 203 arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport over the past 10 days.

“We see a very large rate of infection because of the Delta variant,” Horowitz said. “We warned about this and took measures, and some of them are represented by preparing hospitals in Israel for the treatment of critically ill patients who are hospitalized… with the coronavirus.”

If new measures are not taken, the number of patients in serious condition could reach 200 to 400 by mid-August, according to a report on Tuesday by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah-University Medical Center.

Vaccine efficacy is significantly lower than what the country experienced in March, down to about 80% against serious symptoms and 90% against mortality, compared with over 97% in both categories in previous months, the report said.

It did not provide extensive details supporting its conclusions, nor was it peer-reviewed as with medical articles published in academic journals.

However, the Health Ministry and several experts have been stressing that during the fourth wave, which started in Israel around mid-June, the protection granted by the vaccine has been declining.

Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine remains 91% effective against developing serious cases of the disease, while its effectiveness at stopping infection declined from between 90%-95% to 39%, the Health Ministry reported.

The vaccine was found to be 40% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 and 88% effective against hospitalization, it said.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post