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Serious COVID cases in Israel top 100, for first time in 3 months

Number of Israelis in serious condition with the coronavirus has doubled over the past 10 days, but remains a fraction of the figure seen in January

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

A technician collects swab samples for COVID-19 at a testing center run by the Tel Aviv Municipality at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on July 20, 2021. (Miriam Alster/ Flash90)
A technician collects swab samples for COVID-19 at a testing center run by the Tel Aviv Municipality at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on July 20, 2021. (Miriam Alster/ Flash90)

Serious cases of COVID in Israel topped 100 as of Sunday evening, reaching a high not seen in the country since May 1.

According to data released by the Health Ministry, 101 people in Israel are currently hospitalized in serious condition with COVID-19. That figure was just 86 on Friday. Serious cases of COVID have not exceeded 100 since May 1, when 103 people were listed as in serious condition. Since then, the figure continued a steady decline until mid-June, when it began to tick upwards again.

The number of COVID patients in serious condition has doubled in just the past 10 days, but is still a fraction of the peak seen during the third wave, in January, when there were more than 1,100 serious cases. During the second wave in the fall, serious cases hit a peak of 850 in October.

Earlier this month, the coronavirus cabinet agreed that “the leading parameter” for instating new COVID restrictions would be the measure of serious cases. At Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett vowed to continue “insisting on maintaining livelihoods, the economy, education, and the freedom of Israeli citizens” by wearing masks and getting vaccinated, rather than instituting new lockdowns.

As of Sunday evening, there were close to 11,000 active COVID cases in Israel, compared to 1,990 on July 1. Currently, 201 patients with COVID are hospitalized, 101 in serious condition, 24 in critical condition and 19 on ventilators. So far in July, 29 people have died of COVID in Israel, compared to nine people in the entire month of June.

According to a report last week, those who have become seriously ill during the current COVID uptick are released from hospital more quickly than similar patients during past waves.

An Israeli youth receives the coronavirus vaccine in Petah Tikva, on July 19, 2021. (Flash90)

Health Ministry figures reported last week for the period between June 20 and July 17 claim that the COVID vaccine has dropped to being just 39 percent effective at preventing transmission, but remains more than 91% effective at preventing severe cases.

Some analysts have warned that the figures on vaccine effectiveness are prone to major inaccuracies because of a range of factors, including questions over whether there is accurate data on infection levels among the non-vaccinated, which is vital for such statistics.

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