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Israel sees COVID-19 waves at retreat with boosters, masks and green passes

Jerusalem: Four months after one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19, Israel sees a sharp decline in new infectious diseases and serious illnesses, helped by the use of vaccine boosters, vaccine passports and mask mandates. Yes, scientists and health officials said.

Israel was hit by a fourth wave of coronavirus in June, boosted by a rapidly spreading variant of the Delta.

Instead of imposing a new blockade, the government gave people over the age of 12 a third booster dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, requiring face coverage and forcing them to use the “Green Pass.” This is evidence of vaccination and recovery from illness. Or virus negative test-even in children, in restaurants and elsewhere.

Since peaking in early September, daily infections in Israel have decreased by more than 80% and severe cases have nearly halved.

“We are breaking the delta wave every day,” Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday, acknowledging the government’s policy on “close, smart and flexible management that allows coexistence with the coronavirus.”

Israel’s “living with COVID” strategy, which could not have been achieved without cost and controversy, has continued to open schools and the economy.

The Israeli Ministry of Health released the latest safety and efficacy data on Thursday https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/us-fda-advisers-weigh-case-covid-19-vaccine -booster-shots-2021 -From the booster campaign to the US Food and Drug Administration advisory group considering approval of additional booster shots 10-14.

Data show that among people over the age of 60 (the first group to receive the booster), infection is still elevated among other age groups, about 2 weeks after the third dose was given. Indicates that it has begun to decrease rapidly.

Data analysis by Doron Gazit and Yinon Ashkenazy of the Hebrew University COVID-19 surveillance team showed that the virus growth rate (spreading ability) began to decline sharply in each age group following the third attack.

Two months after the delta wave, vaccinated people over the age of 60 accounted for more than half of the severe COVID-19 cases. The majority are over 70 years of age and are at high risk due to their high health.

People have been at the mercy of serious illness since the administration of mostly unvaccinated, often young boosters. It accounts for about 75% of severely ill hospitalized patients, and patients who have been vaccinated 2-3 times account for a quarter of such cases.

So far, the third vaccination has been effective in controlling serious breakthroughs for vaccinated people over the age of 40, according to the Ministry of Health.

Less data is available for teens and young adults. However, the ministry said previous findings showed that the third dose did not increase the risk of myocarditis, a rare heart inflammation in young people. (Graphics: Confirmed daily infections, https: //graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/ISRAEL-BOOSTERS/znvnezznnpl/chart.png)

“The jury hasn’t come out yet.”

Lan Barriser, who heads the government’s coronavirus expert advisory board, said the combination of measures curbed the delta surge.

“These include mask obligations, a’green pass’, and large-scale testing with both PCR and rapid antigen testing. But arguably, the most important factor in curbing the Delta summer surge was the booster dose mass vaccination campaign. “Baliser said.

In the United Kingdom, where boosters are administered to about 5% of the population, masks are largely abandoned, vaccine passports are not required, and cases of COVID-19 are increasing.

Some scientists said Israel’s decision to approve a third vaccination of young adults and teens in late August was premature and lacked clear evidence of benefits. .. They argue that the focus should be on persuading unvaccinated people to accept the shot.

The United States and some European countries have so far only licensed boosters for older people, people with weakened immunity, or workers at high risk of coronavirus exposure.

The World Health Organization has begged wealthy countries to postpone boosters while many countries struggle to access vaccines.

Hagai Levine, a professor of epidemiology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said:

“In the midst of a pandemic, we may have to make decisions based on partial evidence. Nevertheless, the jury is still on the third dose of the entire population,” Levine said. I did. (Graphics: Coronavirus 4th wave, recall, https: //graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/ISRAEL-BOOSTERS/xmpjollelvr/chart.png)

Bennett has been criticized by some scientists for rejecting stricter measures that would keep Delta infections low from the start. They included government health officials who feared that the “live with COVID” policy would cost too much.

Sharon Alroy Price, head of public health for the Israeli Ministry of Health, said at the Jerusalem Post meeting on Tuesday, “There are 1,400 people who have died in this wave. It costs some money. ” ..

By September, hospitals had a hard time treating COVID-19 cases that could have been avoided, according to doctors and health officials.

“That’s a good policy, but it comes at a price,” said Yael Habib-Yadid, head of the critical care center at the Sheva Medical Center, where the unit saw an influx of unvaccinated young patients. “The team is very tired and burned out.”

So far, 3.7 million people have taken a third shot, which is more than one-third of Israel’s population.

“Israel was the first country to address the complex challenges posed by the Delta variant and the massive weakening of immunity, but it is definitely not the last,” Bariser warned.

“Other countries facing this complex challenge need to figure out their balance, and it can be costly,” he added.

(Additional report by Dedi Hayun of Tel Aviv and Ryan McNeill and Alistair Smout of London, written by Maayan Lubell, edited by Michele Gershberg and Bill Berkrot)

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Israel sees COVID-19 waves at retreat with boosters, masks and green passes

Source link Israel sees COVID-19 waves at retreat with boosters, masks and green passes

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