Internal medicine and gastroenterology specialist and Hesder Yeshiva in Shaalvim graduate Dr. Shmuel Rochberger responded to a report regarding Health Ministry COVID-19 policy and warnings of possible upcoming lockdown after Hanukkah.
Dr. Rochberger wrote: "This morning again, a nervous, typical, expected, and well-timed update from Israel Hayom on a jump in the number of positives/contagions, etc. - on the recommendation of the public relations team at the Health Ministry - as an orchestrated preparation for restrictions/lockdowns that are to land upon us in the near future.
"The fact that hundreds of doctors and scientists have been warning since the beginning of the outbreak, that lockdowns and restrictions are useless and only increase mortality by prolonging the epidemic and preventing immunity from developing in the young and healthy population - will not be mentioned in the newspaper.
"The call to focus all resources and resourcefulness on protecting senior citizens, who are prone to infection, severe morbidity and, G-d forbid, mortality - will not be mentioned either.
"What about drawing lessons from past lockdown and restrictions policy failures? G-d forbid.
"What about listening to the 'Common Sense Model' headed by hundreds of scientists and doctors? Not at all.
"Then what yes?
"Yes to opacity. Yes to arrogance. Yes to wickedness."
Earlier, Health Ministry Director Professor Hezi Levy addressed the increase in positive COVID-19 tests and steps he will take in preparation for the discussion on the subject in the Coronavirus Cabinet today.
In an interview on Reshet Bet, Levy said "I don't think it would be right to open more malls ahead of the Hanukkah holiday. We will not bring the Coronavirus Cabinet a recommendation for full closure on Hanukkah.
"We are not in high morbidity but it is increasing very much and can suddenly skyrocket," Levy said. He referred to the arrival of the vaccines in Israel, and said: "There is a plan being formulated regarding who will receive the vaccine first and regarding the way in which we'll vaccinate. We make sure to bring drugs and vaccines to Israel whose safety and effectiveness have been proven."
Questions by physicians and journalists about the PCR test directed to the Health Ministry have been ignored, such as the following that appeared in a Freedom of Information Act request to the Health Ministry regarding various issues related to COVID-19. This, after queries by journalists representing the spectrum of Israeli media outlets revealed a pattern that may indicate Health Ministry avoidance of certain issues.
The following questions are among those that have yet to be answered by the Health Ministry:
Questions about the PCR tests:
1. How many of the positive tests reported so far reflect repeat tests for those people?
2. Of all the people who performed two tests in a row (ie. - within 24 hours), in how many tests were the two results different?
3. Is there a uniform standard for setting a viral threshold for a positive coronavirus test, and if so, what is it?
4. How many of the tests are borderline and is a borderline test considered positive?
5. Someone whose test was defined as borderline - what was the diagnosis?
6. In the context of the epidemiological investigations, people defined as borderline or asymptomatic - what was the percentage of people they infected?
7. What is the percentage of positive tests among medical staff in the various hospitals?
8. What is the percentage of people who have had a test had symptoms? How many of them received a negative answer?
9. What are the details of the contract agreement with My Heritage Corporation? If other private laboratories were blocked from entering the field of coronavirus testing, why?
10. How much money will the State of Israel pay My Heritage?