Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90.
A Franciscan Catholic priest receives a COVID-19 vaccine injection in a temporary Magen David Adom station at Jerusalem City Hall on Feb. 23, 2021.

A computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science says Israel may have reached a “sort of herd immunity” from the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Speaking with Israel’s Channel 12 television news team, biology expert Eran Segal said the number of Israel’s daily coronavirus cases has dropped by 97 percent since January.

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The term, “herd immunity” – or community immunity – means a large part of the population in a specific area is immune to a specific disease. If enough people are immune to the cause of the disease, like a virus or a bacteria, the disease has nowhere to go.

There were just 86 new cases of the virus diagnosed this weekend, with less than one percent of COVID-19 tests having returned with positive results.

“It is possible that Israel has reached a sort of herd immunity,” Segal said. “But in any case, we have a wide safety net. I think that makes it possible to remove some of the restrictions immediately.”

Segal added that there was no spike in new cases after the Purim and Passover holiday gatherings, and the reopening of the nation’s economy. If confirmed, it may mean that Israel will become the first country in the world to reach the “herd immunity milestone.”

More than 4.9 million Israelis are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. A total of 5,310,216 Israelis have been inoculated with at least the first of the two-dose vaccine regimen.

Israel’s outdoor mask mandate is expected to be lifted by the Health Minister later this month in light of the improvement.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.