On Tuesday morning, the data released by the Health Ministry showed that Israel had reached a new record high of daily cases of the coronavirus, as 37,887 new cases had been diagnosed the previous day. The daily record has been shattered for seven days straight, which had been 11,335 before the fifth wave of cases brought on by the Omicron variant. By 9 a.m. on Tuesday, an additional 5,000 cases had been diagnosed. There was also an increase in the number of serious cases in Israel, as it reached 247. This was an increase of 25 cases from the previous day and the death toll also increased by 2 to reach 8,271.
The total number of active cases in Israel on Tuesday morning was 185,753. Around two weeks ago, the total number of cases was at 15,000. The positivity test rate on Tuesday was around 11.38%. According to experts, majority of the COVID cases in the country are going undetected because the standard PCR tests have now been replaced by antigen tests in Israel due to a shortage. This is to prioritize the PCR tests for those who are at risk and people aged 60 and above. Experts have also stated that Israel is dealing with the quickly spreading Omicron variant as well as the deadly Delta variant of the coronavirus simultaneously.
They have expressed fears that Israel’s health system could become overwhelmed, particularly because of an increase in flu cases, which are also taking up room in hospitals. The ‘R’ number, which is the virus transmission number, has also risen to 2.05. The number shows how many people an infected person can transmit the virus to and any number higher than one indicates that the virus is spreading. Weizmann Institute’s Prof. Eran Segal said that he thinks there are more than 100,000 cases per day and the limited testing capabilities means they are just going undetected.
He estimates that before the peak of the current wave, the daily caseload is likely to double once or twice, which could happen in two weeks. The government is urging people to get vaccinated and everyone aged 5 or above is eligible for it. Last week, the fourth vaccine dose was rolled out in Israel for the elderly population as well as health workers. The second booster has been administered to about 367,670 people so far. On Monday, an advisory panel for the Health Ministry recommended that the quarantine time be reduced for confirmed carriers of the coronavirus from 10 days to seven.
More and more people are forced to quarantine because of the surge in morbidity due to the Omicron variant, which has given rise to concerns about the economic fallout because an increasing number of people are unable to work since they are sick or caring for an infected child. In fact, media reported that some ministers had gone as far as suggesting that the quarantine period be reduced to five days to prevent labor shortage. Estimates indicate that 30% of the workforce may have to quarantine in the next week alone.