Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90
Boys school students in Gaza City A received the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, January 23, 2022.

As predicted, the Omicron variant has peaked in Israel and is starting to decline, based on the Health Ministry’s report on Monday morning. On Sunday, there were more than 520,000 active Corona patients in Israel, and the number of patients in serious condition was 783. Also: almost 30% of the tests from Saturday came out positive.

On Monday, things look much better: the number of active patients is down to 442,229, there are “only” 732 patients in serious condition, 208 of whom are critical, and the rate of positive tests is down to 20.6%. In the era of the Omicron, this is very good news.

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The Health Ministry reported that 592,510 Israelis – a mix of senior citizens, immunosuppressant patients, and medical staff – have received the fourth vaccine.

According to the Health Ministry, the fourth vaccine dose protects 3 times more against serious illness and twice as much against infection, compared to seniors who have received only three doses. These are the preliminary findings of a team of researchers from the Health Ministry, Weizmann Institute of Science, Technion, Hebrew University, and the Gartner Institute at Sheba Medical Center.

More optimistic news came Sunday tonight from Europe, when the director of the World Health Organization on the continent, Hans Kluge told AFP, “It’s plausible that the region is moving towards a kind of pandemic endgame.”

“We anticipate that there will be a period of quiet before Covid-19 may come back towards the end of the year, but not necessarily the pandemic coming back,” Kluge said.

But Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization since 2017, poured cold water on his underling’s enthusiasm on Monday when he cautioned that the Covid-19 pandemic is at a “critical juncture” as it enters its third year.

according to Tedros, “Vaccines alone will not end the pandemic. Many countries need diagnostics, life-saving therapeutics — including oxygen and support for vaccine rollout.”

Here’s the thing: the WHO chief is from Ethiopia, and his concerns are with the third world that’s deeply mired in the runaway pandemic without the resources to stop it. Kluge, on the other hand, is basing his optimism on the resources of the folks on the continent, who are starting to emerge from the nightmare, thanks to those very same resources which they happen to have.

So both officials are right.

The head of the Corona Czar’s team of experts, Professor Ran Blitzer, told Reshet Bet radio on Monday morning that “the force of the current wave of the Omicron will not be repeated.”

Not in Israel and much of Europe, anyway.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.