COVID-skeptic professor ‘wasn’t wrong overall, he was just ahead of his time’

Health Ministry Deputy Director Prof. Itamar Grotto was asked by Yediot Ahronot when Israel would return to normal: ‘I believe on Purim.’

Mordechai Sones ,

Yoram Lass
Yoram Lass
Aloni Mor

Outgoing Health Ministry Deputy Director Prof. Itamar Grotto this evening was asked directly by Yediot Ahronot when we can return to routine.

"I said it before and I haven’t changed my mind: I believe that on Purim we can return to an almost normal routine."

"Purim comes after winter, and it marks a year since the disease appeared in the West. After we organized and experienced all the seasons under the disease, we’ll all get used to the new situation and learn to adapt to it. At that point we’ll have more technological solutions. A whole series of steps that will all do the job together."

"The new routine will be a combination of behaviors and rules, of technology, vaccines, and tests. Each such thing will have its own value, and in the end we’ll create a circle we’ll learn to live with. Our entertainment will also be conducted under such rules - restaurants, weddings; everything will be conducted according to restrictive rules. It’ll be a different routine. Epidemics make long-term changes, that you sometimes don’t remember what caused. We may not remember in a few years why we greet with the elbow. The new things will become a part of our lives."

According to him: "People won’t want to be vaccinated, so only some will be vaccinated. Of course there’s also the possibility that the vaccines will only be good for a few months. In my gut feeling, this disease will stay with us for several years, and maybe even forever, and become another type of flu, especially in winter. In the end we’ll learn to live with it."

What about masks? When will we get rid of them? "That’s already more complex. We may have to keep using them in the coming years when we go out shopping."

Grotto said, "We can live normally, even if the virus continues to exist among us."

“You sound a bit like Yoram Lass,” the interviewer told Grotto, who replied, "By and large, Yoram Lass wasn’t wrong, he was just ahead of his time. So was Prof. Rothstein of Hadassah, who offered tests to the entire population. Then, it wasn’t practical, now that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Professor Lass responded to Grotto, telling Arutz Sheva: "The doctors surrendered to the politicians. For example, on the subject of masks that photograph well and give politicians a sense of control over the innocent public as well as 'governance'. Deputy Director Prof. Grotto resigned, stepped out from the control of politicians, and then said what he had to say."

Last week Lass retweeted earlier statements by Grotto that seem to contradict his more recent pronouncements regarding face mask effectiveness.

In an April 30th, 2009 article in Haaretz by Roni Linder entitled Swine Flu - Health Ministry: Face masks are ineffective and even dangerous, Grotto said: "In studies conducted in the world, the use of masks has not been proven effective.”

He continued: "The use of masks can even be dangerous, if done incorrectly. If, for example, the mask stays on the face for too long, is touched and moisture accumulates in it, it can become a breeding ground for viruses, so improper use is dangerous."

The article went on to say: “Grotto added that in most countries in the world the health authorities do not recommend the use of masks. However, medical staff are of course advised to use masks, as in their case the use is correct and especially short-term.”

Lass retweeted the Haaretz article under the heading: “Both the Health Ministry and health reporter Roni Linder turned on us, by no guilt of our own.”

Copenhagen University's Professor Henning Bundgaard spoke about his randomized control trial study into the protective effects of face masks. In an interview, Bundgaard stated that according to the study, "it would take 300 people wearing a mask for a month to protect one person from getting an infection."