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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Transmission rate now over 1, Israel may follow UK COVID resurgence

Illustrative image: Britain's Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge speak to patient William Taylor, 94 , during a visit to the Clitheroe Community Hospital, in Lancashire, England, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, to learn about the challenges faced by rural health providers in the face of the coronavirus pandemice. (James Glossop/Pool Photo via AP)

After weeks of shrinking COVID numbers, Israel’s transmission rate has dropped to 1. That means cases are expected to rise – and represents an ominous warning that Israel may be moving in the same direction as the United Kingdom, where cases are rising.

When the so-called R figure fell below 1 on 19 January, it was a sign that the ommicron wave that began in December was weakening.

This figure meant that each coronavirus carrier was infecting less than one person on average, and therefore the number of cases was declining.

Now the opposite has happened: the R figure is at 1.1. This came out in the health ministry’s latest count, which was released on Sunday and based on data from 10 days ago, as with the transmission count.

“This is probably due to BA.2,” said Hebrew University epidemiologist Prof. Ora Paltiel told The Times of Israel, referring to a subtype of Omicron. “It’s also influenced by the fact that there are fewer restrictions now.”

She noted that Israel had just celebrated Purim, which saw many gatherings, and that nearly a million people are expected to attend the high-density funeral of Haredi leader Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky on Sunday.

Transmission Rate Now Over 1, Israel May Follow Uk Covid Resurgence

Family members visit a family member at the coronavirus ward of Ziv Medical Center in the northern Israeli city of Tzafat on February 15, 2022. (David Cohen / Flash 90)

Most of Israel’s remaining coronavirus restrictions were ended in late February and as cases have dwindled, the population has become less cautious.

BA.2 is known to be more contagious than the original Omicron, but the jury is out on whether it is more serious.

COVID cases are on the rise, and the rising R suggests the numbers will get worse – as the UK looks to.

Transmission Rate Now Over 1, Israel May Follow Uk Covid Resurgence

Israel’s rising COVID transmission rate on the vertical axis, with the date on the horizontal axis (Israel Health Ministry)

Israel’s new daily cases peaked in late January. On January 26, the moving average reached 75,564 new cases based on several-day averages to increase accuracy, and then began to sink. Last week it came down to 5,852. But then, instead of continuing its decline, the number rose to 6,774.

Israel has had a sort of COVID time machine ever since Omicron emerged. The UK has been weeks ahead of Israel, and the pattern there has been widely replicated here. Leading statistics teams analyzed the UK to predict what was in store for Israel at Omicron’s height.

The United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – saw nearly 3.3 million people out of a population of 67 million infected in the week ending March 12. There, the Omicron wave began to decline in early January, and cases continued to decline throughout February, before rising again at the end of the month.

According to the Office of National Statistics, diagnoses among the more than 70 in the week ending March 12, the age group most at risk of serious illness, if infected, rose to the highest level of the entire pandemic. The virus is spreading so fast in England that one out of every 30 people over the age of 70 have been infected during this time period.

Israel probably won’t be a carbon copy of the UK’s new coronavirus experience, as here, further measures are taken to contain the spread of the virus.

England has even gone so far as to end mandatory quarantine for those infected, and is now simply urging people to stay at home. In Israel, people who are COVID positive are still required to isolate legally. Masks are mandatory indoors in Israel, while in most of the UK they are not.

Transmission Rate Now Over 1, Israel May Follow Uk Covid Resurgence

An elderly Israeli man receives the fourth dose of coronavirus vaccine in Ashkelon on January 3, 2022. (flash 90)

And Israel has led the world with a fourth vaccine shots, which have some benefits in reducing infection levels and serious illness, while the UK is only preparing to roll them out. In addition, in Israel everyone over the age of five can be vaccinated, while the UK has not had widespread vaccination for under-12s. Paltial said: “In this case it is always useful to be able to look at another country in the UK, although it is also important to appreciate that it does not tell the story.

“And while there are more restrictions in Israel, we also have the holiday of Purim, during which many people met and now there is a funeral that is expected to be attended by a million people who, despite being outside, keep people from each other. will bring you very close. All these things affect the spread of the virus,” she said.

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Transmission Rate Now Over 1, Israel May Follow Uk Covid Resurgence

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