COVID: Israel passes 8,000 deaths. What do we know about them?

Empty beds in the intensive care unit at the Coronavirus ward of Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem on October 14, 2021.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Beginning next week, the Green Class outline will be expanded to yellow cities and preschools.

Israel has surpassed 8,000 coronavirus victims. Six patients succumbed to the virus over the previous 24 hours, the Health Ministry reported Tuesday, bringing the total death toll to 8,010.

Since the beginning of the fourth wave in June, almost 1,600 people have died, the majority in August and September, 631 and 668, respectively. Another 224 individuals have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of October.

The number of victims during the fourth wave has remained significantly lower than during the previous wave, when the virus killed 1,445 in January and 947 in February. But the past three months still have been among the deadliest since the pandemic began last year.

Most of the victims have been over the age of 60 and unvaccinated, the ministry reported.

Jerusalem resident Phillip Brieff is seen getting the third COVID-19 booster shot at a Meuhedet clinic, on August 1, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Over the past four weeks, four vaccinated people under the age of 60 succumbed to the virus, and another four who died had been vaccinated more than six months earlier, compared with 46 unvaccinated people who died. The unvaccinated are in the minority of the population.

Among people over the age of 60, 61 died even though they were fully vaccinated, and 56 were inoculated more than six months earlier, compared with 218 who were unvaccinated. Out of 1.56 million Israelis over the age of 60, fewer than 110,000 have not been vaccinated, and more than 1.2 million have received their booster shot.

Meanwhile, morbidity in the country continued to decline on Tuesday, the Health Ministry reported.

Some 1,483 new cases were identified on Monday, with 1.42% of the approximately 105,000 people screened testing positive. Last Monday, there were 2,432 cases, and there were 3,273 cases the previous week.

The number of patients in serious condition continued to decline and dropped to 360, about half the number a month earlier.

Currently, Israel has some 17,000 active cases. At the peak of the fourth wave, there were more than 80,000.

The majority of the active virus carriers are schoolchildren, around 10,000. As of Monday, another 60,000 students were in quarantine after being exposed to a verified case.

At the peak of the fourth wave at the beginning of September, more than 150,000 children were in isolation, either for being infected with the virus themselves or for being exposed to an infected person.

Due to a combination of the drop in morbidity and the Green Class outline, the number has been slowly going down.

Under the Green Class program, students who are exposed to a verified patient do not have to automatically enter quarantine. Rather, they need to take a PCR test, and if it is negative, they undergo a rapid antigen test every day for a week, followed by a final PCR test. Provided that they do not test positive at any stage, they are able to continue attending school.

Currently, the program is only effective in “green” areas in the country, as defined by the Health Ministry’s Traffic Light program, which labels municipalities as green, yellow, orange or red, based on several parameters, including morbidity and the vaccination rate. More than three-fourths of Israelis (78%) currently live in a designated green area.

Beginning next week, the outline will be expanded to yellow areas, covering another 20% of the population, and to preschools, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced Monday night.

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