In yet another pandemic-related first, Israel is now the number one country in the world for new coronavirus infections per capita, with a daily rate of 0.6 percent of the population testing positive.
Israel has seen lead the world in many pandemic-related aspects. It was the first country to close its borders when the outbreak began in March 2020. A year later, it became the first country to aggressively inoculate its population with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
It became the first country to introduce a booster shot as well as the first to introduce a fourth job of the vaccine to over 60s and at-risk populations. It’s now expected to be the first country to begin administering booster shots to children over the age of five.
Israel also adopted the world’s most aggressive approach to stop Omicron. Despite this, numbers have soared so high that the Health Ministry’s dashboard crashed, with the ministry stopping the count altogether.
A teenager receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at Clalit Health Services, in Israel’s Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv. (JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty)
According to statistics from Our World in Data, 0.6 percent of the population was testing positive per day. But Prof. Eran Segal, a leading health expert and adviser to the Israeli government, notes that the dubious distinction of being first in the rate of infections might also be due to the high volume of tests performed each day.
Eran went on to say that Israel is almost at the peak of the current wave, the country’s fifth, and that numbers are expected to decline in a week or so.
“During the coming week we will start to see a decrease in the number of infections. We have already seen a decrease in infections in people over 60. This week we will reach 50,000 or 40,000 cases a day,” Segal told Channel 12 news.
Beginning Thursday, the country will scrap quarantine for children exposed to coronavirus carriers. Those who test positive will still be required to isolate for a minimum of five days.
The number of seriously ill patients rose to 732 over the weekend. 68 Israelis died from coronavirus in the past week, bringing the death toll to 8,393.