Monday, March 23, 2020

How Israel is Dealing With the Corona Virus of 2020

Nadene Goldfoot                                           
Magen David Adom medical team members in protective gear at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Tel Aviv, on March 22, 2020. Photo by Flash90.
I'm in Oregon during this pandemic crisis of the corona virus.  Israel is handling this virus much better than some other countries.  The report below of How Israel is Dealing With the Problem,  was written by a former American now living in Tel Aviv.  It was sent to my son on March 21, 2020.  

Jerusalem Report today said: 

1,238 Israelis infected with coronavirus

As of Monday morning, 24 people are considered in serious condition - an increase of four people from press time on Sunday.

Israel has had about 600 reported cases just a few days ago that I read about. They also reported that they would have a serum available in about 3 weeks.  

Yesterday,  Israel’s Health Ministry said on Sunday that the number of Israelis diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus has risen to 945, a total of 20 of whom are in serious condition.
According to the ministry, the majority of cases (863) are mild, 24 are moderate, and 37 people have recovered. Over the weekend, 88-year-old Holocaust survivor Aryeh Even of Jerusalem became the country’s first recorded COVID-19 fatality.  

The Intelligence Directorate’s Special Operations branch, for example, is working on adapting ventilators and manufacturing thousands of protective masks each day. Other teams are working on developing smartphone applications for the general public. The Defense Ministry is working with Israel’s envoys abroad to locate and procure vital medical equipment.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.
Israel's population as of January 2020  was 9,152,100 .  This includes:
1. Jews:    74.24%-----     6,697,000
2. Arabs:  20.95%-------  1,890,000
3. Others:  4.81%-------     431,000
Israeli firefighters wear protective clothes to disinfect Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, March 20, 2020. Photo by Flash90.
How Israel is Dealing With the Problem
I have been living in Tel Aviv, Israel since February, so I’ve been reading the Israeli news and I’m interested in seeing how they are dealing with the coronavirus situation. That’s also why I am using the country as an example more often than I would if I were living in the US.
Israel was the first country to force travelers to quarantine when entering the country. 

 (I lived in Israel from 1980 to Thanksgiving of 1985 and was present when Ethiopians were brought to Safed, where I lived on Rehov David Eleazar, across the street from the Jr. High where I taught.  They were quarantined at our Safed Hospital  as they arrived with many problems, coming from Africa.  When they were free of all the problems found in their blood workup, they moved into the apartment across the street.) Jews have been returning from all parts of the world since its birth May 14, 1948.   

Israel especially can't handle this virus because the hospital bed occupancy rate is already at 94%, which is the highest in the developed world.
If you have to quarantine people, it starts to pose a problem when your occupancy rate is so high.
So, Israel is taking a multipronged approach to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

(I might add that Israel is a teeny tiny country.  Most all people live in high rise apartments.  You're very lucky if you live in a house.  This population is very dense.  Israel stretches 424 km (263 mi) from north to south, and its width ranges from 114 km (71 mi) to, at its narrowest point, 15 km (9.3 mi). It has an Exclusive Economic Zone of 26,352 km2 (10,175 sq mi).)

 Taking ever more stringent measures by the day to get people to reduce contact, including doing a 'soft' lockdown. Not as strict as Italy, but you can theoretically get fined for leaving your home without an 'approved' reason.

 Using anti-terror tracking tools and technology to track every person and send a text to people who came into contact with a coronavirus patient, telling them to quarantine for 2 weeks.

 Rapidly expanding testing to better identify who has it.

 Using their intelligence services and other military agencies to help out, including bringing in test kits, and creating ventilators & protective gear.

5) Converting hotels into hospitals.

 Approving experimental treatments to use in serious cases.
Many of these measures are also being taken by other developed countries, but the approach has varied widely between countries and also between states within the US. You will start to see more countries take the same measures as the virus spreads.

On March 18, Israel delivered hundreds of kits for detecting the coronavirus into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, together with equipment for medical protection. This is the same Gaza Strip from which Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups have been firing thousands of rockets at Israel for the past few years, and launching party-balloons carrying hidden bombs as recently as last week. In February alone, more than 40 rockets were launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Update: 2:34pm PDT,
Israel is currently purchasing thousands of respiratory machines, and they are supposed to arrive in the country by mid-May. On Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is using every means it has to secure medical equipment to help patients during the pandemic.
3/23/2020 Jerusalem Post: not longer using respirators on those over 60-not enough.

Resource:, from Joe at Selfhacked by my son, Steve.
Letters From Israel, by Nadene Goldfoot, about living in Israel and teaching from 1980-November 1985.  

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