Israel has the world’s worst daily COVID-19 infection numbers per capita for the last week, overtaking the US for the first time – and is also leading the global per-capita deaths with some 3.5 per million citizens, according to a report.
The hard-hit Jewish state saw an average of 703 new daily infections per million citizens, according to information from Our World In Data, which cited the European CDC, The Times of Israel reported.
Spain had 234 confirmed infections per million citizens, France had 185 and the US had 133, according to the news outlet, which reported that data from John Hopkins University showed similar results.
And despite the low mortality rate in Israel amid the spiking case numbers, the country has overtaken the US with the number of per-capita infections.
“I’m very worried. I see the people, I see the deaths, I see the prolonged disease,” Prof. Dror Mevorach of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center told the news outlet Tuesday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the national lockdown will last longer than had been planned.
For the first time, the number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients in Israel surpassed the 800 mark — a number previously cited by health officials as the maximum hospitals in the country can adequately cope with.
“Some 50 percent of the people hospitalized here at Hadassah are under 60,” said Mevorach, head of Hadassah’s internal medicine division.
Medical personnel with full protective suits treat a patient at the COVID-19 department at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, IsraelEPA
“And although a big percentage of deaths are people over 70, some younger patients have a prolonged course of illness, and can be here for weeks,” he told the outlet.
“It’s not like the people dying had two or three months to live [anyway] — many are people who had good a prognosis [before infection] and died,” Mevorach added.
Israel was previously viewed as one of the success stories in handling the deadly global outbreak, having taken stringent steps early to stem the spread of the disease.
In July and August, the number of infections were at 170 per million and 166 per million, respectively.
“The opening of schools was clearly the trigger for these statistics,” Eran Segal, one of Israel’s top coronavirus statisticians, told The Times of Israel about the alarming numbers. “There’s something to be learned from what happened here.”
Mevorach said he was not surprised about how the situation has deteriorated.
“The problem is that the government did not react to clear signs seen in July and magnified in early September,” he told the outlet, adding that the recent numbers partly reflect the breaking of rules during Rosh Hashanah.
Medical personnel wearing a full protective suit brings a ventilator for a patient at the COVID-19 department at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, IsraelEPA
Meanwhile, the Knesset — Israel’s parliament — on Wednesday passed a law that would allow the government to curtail public protests during the coronavirus lockdown, a measure that drew fierce opposition on Tuesday.
The law allows the government to declare a special week-long state of emergency if the virus spreads out of control.
If such a state is declared, the government would be able to limit participation in assemblies, including protests, to a half-mile from a person’s home, effectively putting a halt to large weekly demonstrations outside Netanyahu’s residence.
The parliament approved the bill 46-38 during a late-night session that stretched into the morning hours.
The nation of about 9 million people has recorded over 235,000 cases and more than 1,500 deaths, according to Health Ministry figures.
With Post Wires