Child in mask
Child in maskiStock

Assuta Hospital Chairman and former Health Ministry Director Prof. Shuki Shemer this morning in a Reshet Bet interview expressed support for the decision to open schools gradually.

"This disease is an adult disease," Professor Shemer noted. "Ninety percent of the deceased are over the age of 60. In Israel, there are isolated cases."

"The question is whether children become infected," Professor Shemer added, noting that "children are infected less, but they do become infected. The question in the field of illness is a statistical question; obviously you cannot deal with what will happen with one or two individual patients.

"Now the question is whether they have a role in transmitting the disease to parents and teachers, and the answer is that their role is almost nil. Infection in children is almost nil; that's what we know from world literature," he argued.

He says this disease is very different from influenza: "If we assume it's comparable to influenza, where the disease spread very strongly in children, the flu is much more severe, they're much more contagious. When I was Health Ministry Director in 2000 there was a terrible flu epidemic in Israel, and then there was a teacher strike and the epidemic stopped."

Shemer emphasized that: "The answers are statistical, but the harm will be measured in very low percentages."

He further stated that it might have been better to wait another week before opening school: "I personally think that since we started the closure a week ago, if they waited another week it wouldn't have been any big disaster."