The Delta flim-flam

On this Delta issue, I have my medical intuition telling me that we have been had. And here's how - and possibly why. Op-ed.

Rabbi Aryeh Hirsch, M.D.  ,

Coronavirus testing in Jerusalem
Coronavirus testing in Jerusalem
Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

"The Delta variant of the coronavirus has not led to an extreme uptick in serious cases, contrary to public alarm…"(Jerusalem Post, front page article, Friday, July 9, 2021).

It would be more accurate to say that the Delta variant has not led to any uptick in serious cases. Furthermore, it is questionable if there has been any uptick in hospitalized cases, period. My hospital has admitted one patient in the last two weeks; same with Shaarei Tzedek. So why the "public alarm"?

Furthermore, there are obviously two reservoirs of virus in the Israeli population: little kids, and anti-vaxxers. Since we have no results of testing of the vaccine in children under 12, the vaccine cannot be given to them, and the virus perforce spreads in these kids- who have asymptomatic infection, by and large.

Anti-vaxxers harbor the virus, and will cook up mutants for the foreseeable future. In short, they represent a danger to the rest of society- and their behavior should not be tolerated.
\It's known that the longer the virus lives, the more it mutates: last summer, it was reported from England that one patient who survived for some six months, first grew the English variant, then the South African, and finally the Indian mutation. So the Indian variant was bound to show up in the large indigenous population, even if not one airplane passenger brought it here from abroad (where these variants also grew spontaneously). With at least a million little kids in this country, we are bound to have Corona-virus, and mutants, for quite a while.

The second reservoir are these anti-vaxxers. Similar to the little kids, these people harbor the virus, and will cook up mutants for the foreseeable future. In short, they represent a danger to the rest of society- and their behavior should not be tolerated.

When I was one of those under-twelve-year olds, Chicago still had TB sanitariums- which disappeared with the advent of antibiotics for tuberculosis. My advice is that this country cannot tolerate the behavior of these anti-vaxxer nuts: so far, the vaccines have been effective versus all Corona mutations, including Indian-delta. Heaven forbid, some patient grows a mutation that the vaccine can't handle, and we go back to square one, the situation of the last week of January of this year- with an average of 54 deaths a day.

Nobody writes about it, but in February and March, the health-care system was close to collapse; just talk to the docs, nurses, techs, etc. who were near exhaustion, working in hospitals stuffed beyond bed capacity. It's only because of the "tolerant atmosphere" of liberal society, that Israel does not protect itself from this dangerous anti-vaxxer behavior. Stiff penalties are in order.

Another proof that we have no true crisis now: those death figures. In the first week of February, there were still 46 deaths a day. However, since June 16, we've had some four deaths- in nearly a month, although we wish there were none at all. Positive nose-swabs tests mean nothing: the fact is that people are getting sniffles due to an Indian variant that the Pfizer vax is still at least 93% effective in preventing hospitalization.

Another reason for the "public alarm" that the Jerusalem Post noticed, was the simple media trick of changing the name. There is NO difference between the "Indian mutation" of the Covid-19 virus, and the "Delta variant"- it's all a flim-flam. The media spread word of the "new" Delta virus, and bingo- "public alarm".

This started three weeks ago, about a week after Naftali Bennett became Prime Minister. On that date, June 13, 2021, we also got a new Minister of Health. I submit that a naïve journalist, with NO background in health/medicine, became Minister and pushed the panic button, leading to new mask restrictions, delay of allowing tourists into this country (this was supposed to happen July 1), and talk of lockdowns for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Hotels, airlines, tour-guides, taxis, restaurants are all taking a beating, without tourist dollars- and all because of Horowitz's inexperience.

Remember, it's still unknown whether lockdowns make a difference: open Florida (despite its elderly population) survived Covid-19 markedly better than locked-down California.

Besides, the old Talmudic dictum still has psychological truth: don't make decrees on the public that it won't accept. And people are sick of these measures- especially when they know that nothing really changed between June 12 and 13, except the cast of characters and the name Delta.

The alternative explanation to simple ignorance and inexperience is horrible to contemplate: that Bennett and Horowitz want to pull a "cancel culture" on Netanyahu, similar to what the Dems did to Trump. It’s possible that the plan is to make Israel forget that PM Bibi got Israel the vaccine, and got us to normalcy. To accomplish the ultimate ingratitude, they are creating a flim-flam- only to open up the country in the near future, perhaps August 1, and ride into the glory and claim that THEY saved Israel. I hope that's not so.

I don't know a thing about ecology. I have to trust ecologists that the Earth is warming. I'm still skeptical that pollution is a major, or even significant cause; perhaps we're just in a Heat Age, and will yet have an Ice Age. However, I'm willing to believe the Greens up to a point (that will be another article), and sort my garbage, and buy less polluting cars. On this Delta issue, however, I have my medical intuition telling me that we have been had.