Sunday, May 22nd | 21 Iyyar 5782

February 11, 2021 4:09 pm

Promising New Vaccine Data Shows Death Rates Declining Rapidly Among Israelis Over 60

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A woman receives a vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as Israel continues its national vaccination drive, during a third national COVID lockdown, at a Maccabi Healthcare Services branch in Ashdod, Israel December 29, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen.

New data published Thursday indicates that Israel’s ongoing vaccination campaign may be working, with a steep fall in the morbidity rate and number of deaths among people aged 60 and over.

Israel has been engaged in a vaccination campaign since late December, beginning with the elderly and since expanding to all citizens over 16. Nonetheless, infection rates had remained high, with the vaccine effect hard to discern.

However, Israeli news site N12 reported that new data compiled by Prof. Eran Segal — a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science — shows that since mid-January, there has been a 58% decrease in the number of deaths, a 38% decrease in new serious cases, and a 58% decrease in all new cases in the over-60 age group.

The positive results will encourage vaccine efforts around the world, all trailing Israel’s — which has now at least partially inoculated over half of those eligible.

“For the first time in the pandemic, there were fewer COVID-19 hospitalizations this week in the 60 y/o and older age group than in the 60 y/o and younger age group,” Segal observed on Twitter Thursday.

This has already had concrete effects on the ground. For example, Rambam Hospital in Haifa has closed the emergency coronavirus ward it set up in an underground parking lot, and more hospitals are preparing to close similar wards if numbers continue to decline.

Israel’s Ministry of Health also released data Thursday that shows the vaccine may be having an effect: The rate of positive tests is decreasing, and now stands at 7.5%.

The number of serious cases does remain high, however, at 1,027. Of these, 315 are on ventilators and 387 are considered to be in critical condition.

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