While Israel continued to lead the world in coronavirus vaccinations per capita by a wide margin, data showed Wednesday that the Jewish state has now passed the United States in new daily cases per million people on a seven-day average.
COVID-19 are at record high levels in many countries, in part due to new, more infectious mutated strains first identified in the UK and South Africa.
In Israel, the Health Ministry said Wednesday that 8,175 new cases were confirmed on Tuesday, the second day in a row where the number top 8,000. The record was 9,013 on September 30.
In the United States, the daily average of new cases over the past week has been 219,252 — some 100 less than the all-time record reached last month.
The US has a population of some 328 million compared with Israel’s 9.29 million.
Only very few countries have more daily cases than Israel, including the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Slovenia, according to the Our World In Data website.
Meanwhile, Israel has vaccinated 15.83 percent of its population — some 1.5 million people — while the US has inoculated only 1.46% of its population, according to the same website.
Israel leads the world by far in that category, followed by two Gulf countries it recently normalized ties with, the United Arab Emirates (8.35%) and Bahrain (3.75%). The world average is just 0.19%.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 4.8 million vaccines had been administered in the US by Tuesday morning out of more than 17 million delivered to its various states. That is probably an undercount because of delays in reporting, but it is far fewer than experts had hoped.
The slow pace is frustrating health officials and a desperate public alike, though disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that the US could soon be giving at least a million COVID-19 vaccinations a day despite the sluggish start.
Israel only started vaccinating on December 20 (a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the first vaccinee), with a focus on healthcare workers and then on over-60s and at-risk sectors. The US began its drive on December 14.
AP and JTA contributed to this report.