Professor Galia Rahav
Professor Galia Rahav Yossi Aloni/Flash90

Professor Galia Rahav, Director of Sheba Medical Center's Infectious Diseases Unit, on Friday said that she does not believe the hysteria surrounding the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is exaggerated.

In an interview with 103 FM Radio, Prof. Rahav said, "I don't think that we exaggerated, because this variant is spreading in a truly exponential fashion - we didn't see this rate of infection before."

"The number of cases is increasing and rising in a scary fashion. The Omicron variant has replaced Delta in many places."

Regarding how dangerous Omicron is, Prof. Rahav said that in the meantime, there seems to be room for optimism: "We still cannot say for certain that Omicron does not cause serious illness - it seems to be that way, but we cannot say that for certain."

At the same time, Prof. Rahav said, "We don't know when the booster stops being effective - we simply do not know enough still. During the pandemic, we wish not to create hysteria, but we must be as prepared as possible."

"In the first wave, we closed all the borders because we saw what happened in Italy, when the hospital system reached capacity. I am in favor of closing the borders, of the Green Pass, and of vaccinating the public. We need to vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, that's the first thing. We see that people who are vaccinated with the booster, that it is effective in preventing serious illness - the question is how much. This is THE question, that we do not yet know the answer to."

About the plan to hand out bracelets at mall entrances, allowing only vaccinated individuals entry into all stores, she said, "There's a lot of logic in this, and that's what is done in many places around the world. But the the enforcement of the bracelets did not seem to be relevant or logical."