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Daily Briefing Jan. 26 – Snow in the Holy Land and a blizzard of COVID updates

Health reporter Nathan Jeffay brings a flurry of pandemic news; Tech Israel editor Ricky Ben-David explains how the Abraham Accords are opening up new med-tech markets

Welcome to The Times of Israel’s Daily Briefing, your 15-minute audio update on what’s happening in Israel, the Middle East, and the Jewish world, from Sunday through Thursday.

Health reporter Nathan Jeffay and Tech Israel editor Ricky Ben-David join host Amanda Borschel-Dan on today’s episode.

The one thing on every Israeli’s mind today is snow — how much and where? Love it or hate it, a snowy Holy Land is a relatively rare, national event. How are our guests getting prepared?

One in 20 Israelis is currently infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Jeffay gives context to the dire-sounding numbers even as Israel appears set to provide a fourth vaccination for all above age 18.

The pandemic has led to some pupils being sent home repeatedly to quarantine. This, along with other side effects of the ongoing crisis, has led to a marked increase in depression among children. Jeffay weighs in. And finally, what about those reports that the pandemic is basically over?

Ben-David sheds light on how the Abraham Accords have opened up new markets for Israeli medical tech. She spotlights one company, TytoCare, a telehealth startup that developed an artificial intelligence-based device that enables clinicians to perform remote medical examinations.

And finally, following the Colleyville hostage situation earlier this month, a philanthropist is investing $1 million into Blue Systems Ltd’s Gabriel, inspired by the biblical guardian angel of the same name — a “smart panic-button” system, equipped with sensors, a camera and a microphone that can be installed in school and institution rooms.

Discussed articles include:

Winter storm Elpis brings heavy snow to Golan; schools in north, Jerusalem to shut

1 in 20 Israelis infected, yet experts optimistic Omicron won’t defeat hospitals

Health officials said to warn country will soon break own record for serious cases

Depression, anxiety in children jumped during pandemic, study shows

Israeli startups head to Dubai to tout medical, health technologies

As demand spikes, donor to buy Israeli emergency help system for Jewish institutions

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