During Thursday’s meeting of the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, the coordinator of Israel’s efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Professor Ronni Gamzu, said the current reproduction number of the coronavirus in Israel, “during a second lockdown with a weary population,” is 0.6.
The reproductive number, represented as RO, refers to the number of new infections that one infected individual can cause in a susceptible population. If the R0 is above 1, each infection breeds more, and the outbreak will continue to grow. When it falls below 1, the outbreak will continue but at a lower death rate, since less than 1 infected case follows the resolution of an earlier case by death or recovery.
“With all the difficulties, the public took the matter seriously. Our citizens are responsible. They cooperated, and their confidence in the decisions was high,” Gamzu told the committee chaired by MK Haim Katz. He said teens and young adults, who can be carriers without displaying severe symptoms of the disease, “are the engine of the pandemic.”
“They contract the virus, carry it, usually they do not get sick, and they push the contagion forward to older people,” Prof. Gamzu explained. “There is no dam that can stop this flow, and therefore it is important to prevent infection within this population. We have to wait with the opening of the education system – elementary schools, high schools – and do it carefully. Because these children and teenagers interact with adults and elderly people.”
Prof. Gamzu said Israel’s healthcare system is “strong and stable, and is built on strength, dedication and determined workers.” The percentage of people who die from coronavirus in Israel is among the lowest in the world, he said. “It will not be Italy here, never,” Gamzu stated.