Numbers predict fourth lockdown

Vaccination numbers are promising, but are they happening fast enough?

Shlomo Witty ,

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צילום: ISTOCK

The director of Assuta Hospital in Ashdod, Dr. Erez Barenbaum, says that the current lockdown is effective, but at the same time is already talking about another.

"I have the impression that the restrictions are far more significant now than the preceding weeks. The mere fact that schools are closed will lower the infection rates among children. The lockdown will eventually take its toll on the virus."

The optimism, however, is short-lived. "Two or three weeks ago, I estimated that we would need a fourth lockdown. We have a chance to avoid it, but only if vaccinations continue."

Regarding the recently discovered mutations, the doctor commented, "We now know the British mutation to be far more infectious than we thought. We don't know much at all about the South African mutation. It is a race, now, between virus and vaccine, and the numbers will determine the winner."

"It's still hard to estimate when the virus will no longer be a major conern, although it's really quite mathematical - every citizen over the age of 16 should receive two vaccines, a total of roughly ten million doses. So far, 3.2 million doses have arrived in the State of Israel; several hundred thousand more are on their way already, putting us at nearly five million. The question is if and when another five million can be procured."

"As I have mentioned before, the vaccines must be given in two doses, at least a week apart. The mathematics do not seem to allow for us to defeat COVID-19 by Passover."

"As long as children remain unvaccinated, we will need masks, but life is improving. Only the numbers can decide when we can return to normal."