Coronavirus ward at Hadassah Ein Kerem
Coronavirus ward at Hadassah Ein KeremYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Dr. Noa Eliakim-Raz, director of the COVID-19 Internal Medicine Department at Beilinson Hospital, spoke to 103 FM Radio about how the delta variant has affected her patients.

"We see women who are pregnant and in serious condition, and still don't reach an ICU situation," she explained. "The number of women hospitalized during pregnancy is high - two of them are in serious condition, both of them were in my ward. They are ill in a relatively early week of pregnancy."

"I think the reason pregnant women don't get the vaccine is in order to protect the fetus. They think that the vaccine might cause harm. We already know that this isn't so. We have a lot of information about vaccines during pregnancy. The vaccine is very safe during pregnancy. Women need to understand that when they are ill with coronavirus, that means that usually that the fetus has to be delivered very early. Delivery protects the mother and allows her to recover from the disease and not deteriorate."

Regarding the change in patients during the fourth wave of infections, Dr. Eliakim-Raz said, "The number of new patients in the ward really did drop, but the type of patients has very much changed. We see a significant change in trend, which apparently stems from the third vaccine."

"Our ward currently has only unvaccinated people, about half of whom chose not to vaccinate and half who are immunocompromised and don't make antibodies, so the vaccine isn't effective for them. Before the third vaccine there were vaccinated adults who were also in serious condition - they were in stable condition and we were able to release them home with oxygen. These patients have completely disappeared, to our great joy, but they were replaced with more turbulent populations, and the ward currently is comprised of younger patients, for whom the virus is much more turbulent."

Dr. Eliakim-Raz concluded with a warning: "One of the most significant things in the past few days is the flooding of ICUs. That's happening all around the country. Because the character of the patients has changed, many of them require general intensive care. Our ICU had six beds, grew to eight, and this morning a ninth patient was transferred there. That's a lot more than the manpower the ICU was built for. The ICUs have reached insufficiency. Every bed that's opened is at the expense of the general ICU. I know that in the entire country, ICUs are very very full."