With hospitals calm and deaths low, expert says Israel’s COVID wave about to recede

Israel’s current coronavirus wave is almost at its peak and the number of new daily infections will soon start to fall, according to one of the country’s top virus statisticians.

The transmission rate has dropped, with each confirmed patient infecting an average 1.06 others. A month ago, this figure known as the R0, was 1.46.

This number is calculated based on data from several days ago, so experts believe it’s possible that current data may even render the R0 under 1, meaning that the overall infection rate is shrinking, not growing.

“We are approaching the peak, and quite possibly are even a little bit after the peak,” Prof. Nadav Katz, part of an interdisciplinary COVID-monitoring group at Hebrew University, told The Times of Israel.

He said that pressure will continue to increase in hospitals for another one to two weeks, as patients tend to become hospitalized some time after infection. There are 1,165 Israelis in hospital with the coronavirus, and 350 serious cases — far lower than during the winter wave and well below capacity.

“The number of serous patients will go up, and in this respect we haven’t yet peaked,” Katz said. “However the hospitals don’t look like they will be overwhelmed — and while this is serious, we are not at all at the level of event we had in January.”

Prof. Nadav Katz, who heads quantum research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, speaking at The Future of Quantum Technology Conference in Jerusalem on Dec. 11, 2018 (Noam Moreno)

All in all, the current wave is emerging as far less dramatic than the winter wave. At the end of January there were more than 60,000 confirmed new infections in a single day, while currently based on a moving average it is about 10,000. And there were almost 1,100 serious cases over the last days of January, triple the current number.

However, experts have said that many cases in the current wave are going unreported.

Nevertheless, Katz noted that the biggest concern for the health systems is serious hospitalization and deaths, and these are lower than he expected.

The average weekly number of COVID deaths has been in the single figures since early April, and currently stands at six.

People stand in line to be tested for COVID-19, at a testing center on HaBima square in Tel Aviv, on March 28, 2022. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

“The overall mortality rate we’re seeing now is lower than we would expect for the number of confirmed infections,” Katz said.

He highlighted the role of vaccines in low mortality. Among the 60-plus age group today, those who are vaccinated have less than half the chance of ending up in serious condition. For every 100,000 people from this age group, 37.4 of the unvaccinated are in serious condition with COVID, while the figure is 16.7 for the fully vaccinated.

“Overall, rates of serious illness and death are lower today as a result of a combination of immunization, improved treatment, people who are at high risk taking steps to be careful, and variants seemingly becoming weaker in their ability to cause serious illness,” Katz said.


It’s not (only) about you.

Supporting The Times of Israel isn’t a transaction for an online service, like subscribing to Netflix. The ToI Community is for people like you who care about a common good: ensuring that balanced, responsible coverage of Israel continues to be available to millions across the world, for free.

Sure, we’ll remove all ads from your page and you’ll gain access to some amazing Community-only content. But your support gives you something more profound than that: the pride of joining something that really matters


Join the Times of Israel Community


Join our Community

Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this


You’re a dedicated reader

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago – to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel


Join Our Community


Join Our Community

Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.