Health Ministry sees big drop in virus deaths and seriously ill in latest wave

New high of 2,104 cases found Tuesday, but internal data shows that, proportionally, Israelis are handling the new wave much better than the first

Healthcare workers take test samples of Israelis to check if they have been infected with the coronavirus, in Modiin Illit, on July 29, 2020 (Yossi Aloni/FLASH90)
Healthcare workers take test samples of Israelis to check if they have been infected with the coronavirus, in Modiin Illit, on July 29, 2020 (Yossi Aloni/FLASH90)

Coronavirus cases in Israel rose by 1,207 on Wednesday evening since midnight, the latest Health Ministry figures showed, with the number of cases diagnosed the previous day standing at 2,104, a new daily high. The national death toll rose by five to 491.

The total case count stood at 67,734, of which 34,521 were active, with 328 seriously ill patients — 99 of them on ventilators — 148 moderately ill patients and the rest suffering only mild or no symptoms. The ministry said 26,195 tests were performed Tuesday.

According to a Channel 12 report Wednesday evening, internal Health Ministry data shows a significant slowdown in the number of seriously ill cases and fatalities in the latest wave of infections, when compared to the first wave in March-April.

Statistics compiled by the ministry showed that adjusted to the number of those diagnosed, the number of seriously ill patients dropped by 45 percent between the waves, with the number of fatalities dropping by a full 80%. The number of patients requiring ventilation, in proportion to the number of cases, has also dropped by 80%.

People wearing face masks shop at the Malha Mall in Jerusalem on July 29, 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

According to the report, health officials believe the drop may be the result of several factors, including a higher percentage of asymptomatic cases; a caseload that trends younger; at-risk populations being better protected; and better knowledge of effective treatments for the sick.

Israel has the fifth-highest number of new coronavirus infections per capita in the world, overtaking the United States, according to data compiled by a scientific publication based at Oxford University.

On Tuesday, Israel was recording 210.96 new COVID-19 cases per 1 million people per day, Our World in Data said, behind only Oman, Panama, Brazil and Bahrain.

The US, which has the most reported virus cases and deaths of any country, had an infection rate of 198.64 per 1 million people.

Israel was still well behind the US and numerous other countries in fatalities per million people, with a current rate of 0.97.

Israel has seen the number of new coronavirus cases rocket to more than 2,000 a day in recent weeks, after largely managing to keep the virus in check during March and April.

Experts have blamed a too-speedy reopening and the lack of an effective contact-tracing program as main factors in the virus resurgence, which has come as new daily coronavirus cases around the world have also reached record highs.

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