Health Ministry Director Says COVID May Never Go Away2 min read
On Tuesday morning, the Director-General of the Israeli Health Ministry, Prof. Nachman Ash said that COVID-19 would probably never go away completely. He was referring to the fact that the new BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron is continuing to spread globally. Ash stated that the novel coronavirus had not disappeared and it was likely that it never would. Nonetheless, the BA.2 variant is considered to be responsible for only a small percentage of COVID-19 cases in Israel so far. However, it should be noted that this variant is considered significantly more transmissible than the already highly contagious Omicron variant from which it stems.
Ash said that so far there were no indications that the sub-variant was spreading in Israel and they hoped that this would remain the case. He added that new variants were likely to pop up from time to time and the most important thing they could do was to be prepared and follow all the new ones as they develop, all the while figuring out just how dangerous they might be. He said that he was hopeful no other new variant would bother them. On Monday, the total number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Israel was around 43,852.
The Health Ministry’s data showed that a total of 181,947 tests had been conducted on the day, which meant that the positivity rate was around 24%. The number of patients in critical condition due to the disease was around 1,161 and this included 288 patients who were on ventilators. The total death toll in Israel since the beginning of the pandemic has now reached 9,226. The fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has been administered in Israel to around 673,047 people. Three doses have been given to about 4,450,249 people, while around 6,106,814 people have been inoculated with two doses.
There are also 6,693,602 people who have received a single dose. The hospitals in Israel have struggled with funds due to the pandemic and there have been arguments between the government and hospitals as well as health funds. On Tuesday, the hospital administrators had a discussion with the Knesset Health Committee and criticized the conduct of the Health and Finance ministries. Dr. Miki Halbertal, the Director-General of the Rambam Health Care Campus said that both caregivers and patients were currently paying with their lives for the behavior of the Health Ministry. Halbertal said that the Finance Ministry had presented something irrelevant and it wasn’t helpful at all.
He added that their claim of having a relevant discussion was just a lie and it was terrible of them. Prof. Ofer Marin, the director of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center said that the fifth wave of the coronavirus had impacted hospitals quite differently than what was being shown in the media. Prof. Fahad Hacham, the director of EMMS Nazareth Hospital said that the Finance Ministry had turned the situation into such a bad one that hospitals were firing on their forces metaphorically. Hacham said that they were going downhill and didn’t know how to face their employees.