As numbers drop, there’s light at the end of the Omicron tunnel

“The estimation is that we will continue to see the downward trend” in Covid cases, says top government adviser on the coronavirus.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel’s fifth wave of Covid-19 seems to be on the wane and serious cases will hopefully drop below a thousand in the very near future, a medical expert told Channel 12 Saturday night.

Prof. Eran Segal, one of the top government advisers on Covid-19, told the network, “The decline in indices is continuing and this week, as we estimated, we are finally seeing a decline in seriously ill patients…. There are 20% fewer serious cases than the peak we were at a week ago.”

In his estimation, by the end of next week there will be under 1,000 serious cases in the country, and possibly only 800.

Israel reached its peak of those acutely ill last Sunday, at 1,259. There are currently 1,057 hospitalized in serious condition. Slightly less than a third of them, 328, are classified as critical, with 269 on ventilators, and 21 attached to ECMO life support machines.

The efficacy of the vaccines continues to prove itself, according to the Health Ministry. Its data shows that there were just under 3.5 serious cases per 1,000 people among unvaccinated patients over age 60, while among the vaccinated the number stood at a mere 0.28 per thousand.

The number of cases overall has been dropping steadily as well. There were only 18,020 newly diagnosed cases on Saturday, according to Health Ministry data, compared to the all-time high last month of some 70,000 per day. The current weekly average of 240,312 of those actively ill also reflects a 37% drop over the previous seven-day average.

The percentage of those who test positive for the illness has also decreased, if not as dramatically. Some 26% tested positive Saturday, when over the last few weeks the percentage hovered around 29%.

Another encouraging sign that the Omicron wave is declining is the falling R number – the average number of people each sick person infects. It is currently 0.74, a rate that hasn’t been seen since October.

According to Segal, while over two million Israelis have officially been caught by the Omicron variant, he believes that “perhaps twice as many were actually infected, and by the end of the wave it could be that half the population will have been infected.”

For this reason, he said, “the estimation is that we will continue to see the downward trend” in Covid cases.

As of Saturday, a total of 9,466 Israelis have died since the beginning of the pandemic.