Has Israel become a symbol of the failure of health measures?
In Europe, the peak of the epidemic seems to have been passed, but the sanitary situation in Israel raises questions. The country continues to record very high levels of contamination and on February 2, a record number of deaths in a single day was recorded, with 226 victims reported.
“226 covid deaths today in Israel, the equivalent of 1600 for France. Record of mortality pulverized!”, hastened to comment on Twitter the president of the Patriots, Florian Philippot. He ironically mocked a “formidable” strategy of the pass “and mass vaccination”, like many Internet users very critical of health measures taken by European governments. Conclusions that appear to be hasty, the situation in Israel being at the moment quite singular.
Omicron is a very contagious variant that has led to record levels of contamination in many countries, including France. In Israel, it is noted that this variant has spread later, mainly from the beginning of January. A “delay” of about one month has induced a delay of the contamination wave observed in Western Europe. Thus, when France and its neighbours see the epidemic ebbing, with a decrease in cases, it still appears to be in a growth phase in the Hebrew State. This partly explains the increase in cases and deaths associated with it.
Even though Israel has been a pioneer in vaccination, its population remains much less protected than in Europe and Canada. Only 66% of the population is fully vaccinated, while just over one in two people has received a booster dose. In Canada, more than 75% of the population is fully vaccinated.
It should be noted that the Israeli government has relaxed the measures in force in the country, contributing to a wider spread of SARS-CoV-2. Borders were reopened on January 9, quarantine rules were relaxed, and the colour codes that conditioned the opening of schools according to the circulation of the virus were ended… The authorities have chosen to reduce the intensity of the measures by favouring a strategy based on vaccination.
An Israeli specialist, asked by a French newspaper, confided that “distinguishing between deaths due to Covid and those with Covid as an aggravating factor, or not, will take time”. He thus suggests that the count of deaths attributed to the virus could be currently distorted. While France now distinguishes between patients hospitalized with Covid and those hospitalized with Covid, the Hebrew state makes no such distinction.
The reporter Nicolas Berrod has thus recalled in recent days that “the death rate is 10 times lower among those vaccinated with booster than among those not vaccinated”. Ensuring a good supply of doses and convincing the skeptics is now a priority objective for the authorities. The health pass, for its part, is about to see its use restricted. Since it “does not reduce infections in closed spaces such as theaters”, says a doctor close to the government, “it should be used mainly for high-risk places such as hospitals, old people’s homes or events where you eat, sing and dance”.