Israel: Top Covid officer says health system ‘will collapse’

i24NEWS

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A staff member wearing safety gear in the Covid ward of Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, December 27, 2021.
Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90A staff member wearing safety gear in the Covid ward of Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, December 27, 2021.

'There is almost no way you meet someone who is sick with omicron and you don't get infected'

The surging rate of Covid infections propelled by the latest omicron variant will lead Israel’s healthcare system to “collapse,” the head of the Israeli army’s (IDF) Covid task force warned Thursday.

"We will reach tens of thousands of infected people a day,” Brig. Gen. Reli Margalit said.

“People will not be able to be hospitalized,” he told Ynetnews.

The general leads the military unit tasked with combatting Covid infections through contact tracing and epidemiological investigations.

“In another week, people will run to get vaccinated. I hope it will not be too late."

Margalit explained that omicron had fewer “bad sides” because it attacks only the upper respiratory tract without binding to lung cells, causing less severe disease.

However, the strain is still highly contagious, even among the vaccinated.

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"There is almost no way you meet someone who is sick with omicron and you don't get infected," he said, Ynetnews reported.

Margalit continued to argue that although omicron is less likely to cause serious symptoms, the projected spike in infections will likely overwhelm hospitals.

"Let’s say it reaches half the hospitalization rate that there was with delta. What there will be here in the coming weeks is tens of thousands of [new] infections a day.”

“The health system would collapse,” he said, warning that Israel will soon reach a reality that “never existed” before.

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According to Haaretz, Margalit’s unit - the National Investigations Center - is a department within the Alon Headquarters of IDF’s Covid task force, which also includes testing, quarantine facilities, and intelligence-assessment departments.

On Thursday, data revealed that while the number of patients hospitalized in serious condition remained stable, the number of new Covid cases in Israel more than doubled since Monday.

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