The new normal
The new normaliStock

In the health system, professionals are now working according to a pessimistic scenario according to which within five days the country could see a thousand new cases of coronavirus being diagnosed on a daily basis.

As of Wednesday evening, Israel has 5,500 active cases of COVID-19, with several dozen patients in serious condition, and health experts voicing concern that a significant rise in the number of virus infections will eventually lead to a significant rise in the number of serious cases.

On Wednesday evening, Professor Sigal Sadetzsky, head of Public Health Services at the Health Ministry, told Channel 13 News that, “I hope that we haven’t lost control of the situation, because by now it is clear to everyone that this disease is back.”

According to Professor Sadetzsky, the reopening of the economy happened too fast, too soon. “We basically engaged in an experiment to see if we could craft regulations that would prove effective in limiting or preventing the spread of the virus,” she said. “Now it seems that we’re going to have to learn how to live with the coronavirus. There are certain sectors of the economy that have succeeded [in minimizing the virus’ impact], but there are other sectors that could use improvement – such as the education sector, for example. We wanted children to go back to school in a capsule format [learning in small groups that do not come into contact with one another], and keeping a distance of two meters between people, but this isn’t what ended up happening. In other words, our experiment failed.” (Capsule learning was in fact imposed on the country's yeshivas, but schools were allowed to resume teaching in a regular classroom format.)

Professor Sadetzsky noted that, “We want to flatten the curve [i.e. decrease the rate of contagion]. The scenario that we’re working with isn’t necessarily what’s going to happen, but this is what we want to prepare for.”

Profesor Sadetzsky does not agree with those who claim that the government has failed in its preparations for a “second wave” of the virus. “I think that it’s accurate to say that we prepared well. We succeeded in setting up an entire mechanism for dealing with this epidemic, incorporating testing, the health funds, and the laboratories. The labs especially have greatly enhanced their capabilities, so much so that two days ago, we reached 18,500 tests per day, and this is a huge number. But there is still much room for improvement, and we’re all going to do what we can to protect the lives of our citizens.”