According to the data published by the Health Ministry on Saturday, the number of seriously ill patients due to COVID-19 has crossed the 1,000 mark in Israel for the first time since last February. The ministry disclosed that there were 169 new serious cases in Israeli hospitals on Saturday and this increased the total number of serious cases to 1,010. This rising number of serious cases comes, even as other indicators show that the huge Omicron wave in the country is finally beginning its decline. The rate of increase in serious cases tends to be behind that of new cases because it takes for patients’ health to deteriorate.
On Saturday, a member of the government’s coronavirus cabinet and professor at the Weizmann Institute, Eran Segal stated that serious cases could go as high as 1,150 before they start to fall. On Friday, the total number of new cases that were diagnosed in Israel was 53,020, which was a significant reduction from an all-time high number of cases last week of 85,000. However, it should be noted that limited testing is conducted on the weekends. The transmission number, which is known as the ‘R’ value, had also declined to 1.01 on Saturday.
This number shows the number of people infected by a carrier on average. Officials are expecting this number to fall below 1 in the coming week. If the R number is over 1, it shows that the virus is spreading fast, while below 1 shows that the numbers are abating. In the previous month, the R number had surged to 2.12, but has come down since then. It should be noted that this number is calculated based on the data of 10 days earlier. Last week, Segal had assessed that the rapidly spreading Omicron variant could actually be an indicator of the end of the coronavirus pandemic that has been raging globally for two years.
He said that there could be more variants in the future, but with more time, there would be better tools to fight the virus. He said that medicines and vaccines were now available and people would also develop natural immunity. All of these things combined give rise to the hope that the coronavirus pandemic that we have come to know in the last two years could finally end. According to the data on Saturday, there were 444,886 people that were actively infected in Israel and the total number of people in hospitals was around 2,495.
The death toll had surged to 8,657, as about 41 more people had died over the weekend. Plus, the revised data also added a dozen more people who had died of COVID-19 in recent weeks. Ministry data showed that about 206 people had died in the past week due to COVID-19 complications, which is an increase of about 80.7% from the previous week. Meanwhile, Gideon Sa’ar, the Justice Minister, called for ending the Green Pass requirements on Saturday, which is aimed at limiting entry to some venues and activities for those who are immunized or can present negative tests.