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Israel records over 8,500 daily COVID infections as serious cases climb to 559

Monday’s tally is highest in current wave; 13 deaths recorded overnight; Labor MK Gilad Kariv hospitalized and getting oxygen at Sheba Medical Center.

Israel recorded 8,646 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, a new record in the current outbreak of the Delta variant, as an infected Knesset member was hospitalized and getting oxygen therapy.

Updated Health Ministry figures Tuesday morning showed there had also been 1,691 additional cases diagnosed since midnight, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 951,226.

It said 6.2 percent of the 141,972 tests the day before came back positive.

Active cases stood at 55,323.

The number of serious patients grew by 28 since midnight and reached 559, including 89 on ventilators. The ministry said serious cases were much more common among the unvaccinated: Among unvaccinated patients aged 60 and up, there were 154.7 serious cases per 100,000 people compared with 19.8 for their vaccinated counterparts.

There were 13 fatalities recorded overnight, bringing the death toll to 6,694.

The ministry said 5,855,387 of Israel’s population of 9.3 million had received at least one vaccine dose, 5,421,544 had received at least two, and 1,052,615 had received booster shots, which are only available for those aged 50 and up, healthcare workers and those with immune problems.

The basic reproduction number, or R0 — representing how many people each virus carrier infects on average — went slightly down to 1.28.

Meanwhile, Labor MK Gilad Kariv, who contracted COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated, was hospitalized early Tuesday at Sheba hospital in Tel Hashomer.

Reports said that Kariv, a Reform rabbi who chairs the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, decided to head to the hospital after his symptoms worsened and after consulting the parliament’s doctor.

His office said he was receiving oxygen, feeling well and was under medical supervision in the hospital’s coronavirus ward.

Four other lawmakers caught the virus in the past week: Ofer Cassif (Joint List), Inbar Bezek (Yesh Atid), Simcha Rothman and Itamar Ben Gvir (both Religious Zionism).

Amid rising cases, Israel last month became the first country in the world to begin administering booster shots to those 60 and over, and was a pioneer once again on Friday as it began giving third doses to people 50 and up.

The Health Ministry said Sunday that Israel will reimpose caps on gatherings that will restrict attendance at private and public events, as well as rules requiring social distancing in businesses that serve customers in person, including stores and shopping malls.

The government is determined to avoid ordering what would be the country’s fourth lockdown since the coronavirus pandemic started, and is pushing vaccinations, along with some restrictions, as a way to confront a tide of infections expected before morbidity drops again.

[Source: The Times of Israel, Jerusalem, 17Aug21]

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