“Cost Will Be Great Many Infections”: Israel On Omicron Herd Immunity

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Highly contagious Omicron variants have increased the number of coronavirus cases worldwide.

Jerusalem:

The rise in Omicron infection could see Israel gain animal immunity, the country’s top health official said Sunday, adding that the incidence is increasing day by day.

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Highly contagious Omicron variants have increased the number of coronavirus cases worldwide. Global infections have reached record highs, with an average of just over one million cases a day being detected between December 24 and 30, according to Reuters. Death, however, did not increase exponentially, with the new variant hoping to be less lethal.

By the end of December, Israel had managed to stop Omicron, albeit slightly, but the rate of infection is now accelerating, with daily cases expected to reach record highs in the next three weeks. This could lead to animal immunity, said Nachman Ash, director general of the health ministry.

“The cost will be a lot of transmission,” Ash told 103FM Radio. “The numbers have to be very high for the flock to be immune. It’s possible but we don’t want to get it through infection. We want a lot of people to be vaccinated to make it happen,” he said.

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About 60% of Israel’s 9.4 million people have been fully vaccinated – almost all with the Pfizer / Biotech vaccine – according to the Ministry of Health, which means they have either received three doses or recently received their second dose. But thousands of people eligible for the third vaccine have not yet received it.

About 1.3 million cases of the coronavirus have been registered in Israel since the outbreak began. But according to Iran Segal, a data scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science and an adviser to the government, two to four million people could be infected by the end of January when the omicron wave may subside.

In the last ten days, daily infections have more than quadrupled. Increased in severe cases but at a much lower rate, from about 80 to about 100.

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Closely monitoring the seriousness of the illness, Ash is considering a fourth dose of the vaccine for people over the age of 60, following its approval last week, for immunocompromised and elderly people in care homes.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)

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