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Hospitalizations are spiraling. Is a fourth COVID lockdown at our doorstep?

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Hospitals in Israel could be close to capacity within 20 days based on the current trajectory of the virus outbreak, prompting the public as well as the experts to wonder whether the country is sliding toward its fourth lockdown, but the country’s new weapon against the Delta variant has just been locked and loaded.

As cases rise, Israel is on the cusp of finding out what benefits the booster shots and freshly reimposed restrictions may deliver. Starting last week around 420,000 older Israelis have been given third shots of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, with doctors working under the assumption that, similar to the second doses, it will take around a week after vaccination for the benefits of a third shot to kick in.

It’s unlikely that a government that invested so much in boosters will want to make decisions on a lockdown, which is views as a last resort, before seeing reliable stats on the impact of the shots.

“There are really too many unknowns to make predictions now about lockdown,” coronavirus statistician Prof. Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science told The Times of Israel on Sunday. “We haven’t yet felt the effect of booster shots, but this could well be felt this week.”

Despite the heated discussions in government about lockdown, Segal predicted that ministers will wait to see how the numbers pan out once booster shots, and other efforts, take effect.

“Currently, there are 350 people in serious condition and 3,500 new daily cases on average. The number of serious patients is doubling in a space of ten days, which means that after two doublings, we could be over the critical limit for hospitals,” he said Sunday.

“In the last wave we hit 1,200 serious patients and that seems to be the critical limit. That’s scary. And if this does happen, or seem to be happening, we........

© The Times of Israel

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