According to the reports coming in on Thursday, there has been a significant drop in the number of seriously ill COVID patients in Israel who require ventilation because of the Omicron variant. Officials of the Health Ministry and hospitals said that the details support the observations in other countries that the impact on the lungs of the Omicron variant is significantly lesser than the previous variants. There is a limited number of people who need ventilators or ECMO machines because of their critical condition. The extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines do the job of a patient’s heart and lungs to permit them to make a recovery from a serious respiratory illness.
As opposed to ventilators that only help with breathing, ECMO machines provide cardiac as well as respiratory assistance because they are able to oxygenate the blood of the patient outside their body and are only used for those who are critically ill. Hadassah Medical Center’s Prof. Zvi Fridlender said earlier this week that the behavior of the virus had changed significantly. The senior physician said that the Delta variant resulted in faster deterioration, but the extent of deterioration was not the same in the Omicron variant because it has a less dramatic impact.
He said that this was even evident in the most serious patients. Media reports also indicated that doctors had said patients in seriously ill condition because of the Omicron variant did not need to stay for longer times in the hospital. The report indicated that those hospitalized because of the Omicron strain usually left the hospital after 5 days, as opposed to the Delta variant when they had to stay for at least 10 days or more. There is a rapid rise in coronavirus cases in Israel. Each day, a new record number of cases are being identified, a number that had reached 48,000 as of Wednesday.
On Thursday, the Health Ministry also announced that they had also identified cases of a sub-variant of the Omicron strain. At least 20 cases of this sub-variant have been identified of the BA2, which has been discovered in a number of countries and has several mutations that make it different from the Omicron variant. Currently, it is not apparent if the BA2 is more or less dangerous than the Omicron variant. According to the daily figures of the Health Ministry, there has been an increase in the number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients by 90, bringing the total to 289.
There are a total of 882 patients that are currently hospitalized and 89 of these are considered in critical condition. 72 of the patients have been put on ventilators. It should be noted that majority of the seriously ill patients are unvaccinated. The positivity rate in Israel has also climbed in the past week, as it hit almost 12% on Wednesday. The number of tests conducted was also close to the daily high in August, but the positivity ratio back then had been almost half at 6%. Several members of the Knesset have also tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days.