‘The storm is coming to us,’ warns Bennett as COVID-19 stats climb

“The testing system is already collapsing” as cases rise 195 percent.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Israel registered rapidly climbing coronavirus (COVID-19) data over the weekend, as Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned that “the storm is coming to us these days right now.”

The Health Ministry updated Sunday that it registered 4,197 new cases in the past 24 hours. On Friday, 5,472 cases were registered.

About 92,500 tests were performed over the weekend, and the positive rate was 4.57 percent, the highest rate in three months.

A total of 26,857 cases were registered over the past seven days, a 195% increase over the week before that. About 40% of them are schoolchildren.

110 patients are hospitalized in serious condition, 54 of them on life support. While these numbers are still low and manageable, the number of new patients admitted in the past week constitutes a 25.5% increase.

The R coefficient was 1.84, the highest since June, meaning that every patient infects on average another 18 people.

Israel began the roll-out of the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, and following the Ministry of Health’s approval, individuals with suppressed immune systems will begin to receive the fourth dose.

Bennett said Sunday during the weekly Cabinet meeting that “we are all feeling the increase in morbidity and we already expect to see a doubling, and then a doubling of the doubling, in the coming days. This is how it works. It’s clear. Even if those among us who prefer to push things off, soon they will no longer be able to. There will be tens of thousands of verified cases a day, very soon.”

“Our goal has always been the same – to allow the economy to function as much as possible while protecting the most vulnerable among us,” he underscored.

“In parallel with the expected crowding at the hospitals, it must be kept in mind that the situation in which there are tens of thousands of verified cases a day is very difficult to manage logistically. These are numbers that neither we nor the world has known. Therefore, we see, for example, long lines for tests and we are working at this very moment to find solutions.”

“To summarize, the storm is now reaching us. It will be difficult but with correct behavior and responsibility, together we will get through it,” he declared.

Professor Eran Segal, a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science and an expert on COVID-19 in Israel, warned that at some point Israel will become “blind” and will not be able to track the real infection numbers.

“Starting at some point, 20,000 or 30,000 verified a day, we will be blind to the numbers because we do not have enough tests. The testing system is already collapsing,” he told IDF Radio on Sunday. “In the coming weeks, there will be a huge number of verified cases. It is possible that even one in every 3-4 people in Israel will be infected. For most of them we will not know because there are no tests.”