Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Coronavirus ward team at Shamir Medical Center (Assaf Harofeh) in Be'er Ya'akov, southeast of Tel Aviv, August 20, 2020.

The average age of those infected by the coronavirus in Israel was 40 in March and 31 in July, according to data from the Health Ministry published Monday.

In April, the average age was 35, in May, at the end of which began the second outbreak, the average age stood at 31, and in June at 33.

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The average age of the deceased in the first outbreak was 80 and in the second outbreak 78.

The Health Ministry said that the second outbreak had a higher rate of young patients than the first, as did the serious illness.

Dr. Anat Engel, CEO of Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, said that one of the explanations for the lower average age is that older patients know they are in a high risk group and therefore adhere to the guidelines strictly. Engel added that at Wolfson the average age has dropped by several years, including patients who are in a moderate and severe condition, but nevertheless notes that the length of hospitalization and recovery time have been shortened and that this leaves room for optimism.

According to data analyzed by Prof. Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science, the chance of deteriorating into a serious condition after being infected with the coronavirus increases significantly with age. For example, in men the chance for deterioration at age 30 to 40 is 1.4%, at 60 to 64 – 9.4%, and over the age of 80 the risk increases to 31%.

According to Prof. Segal, men have a significantly higher risk than women of deteriorating into a serious condition with a coronavirus infection, and the gap is bigger with younger patients: at ages 30 to 40, the risk of men is 6.6 times greater than women, while at 60 to 62 the risk is only twice as big.

Segal noted that since the beginning of August, there had been a 10% decrease in morbidity under the age of 40 and the decrease reaches 20% relative to the peak of the second wave. At the same time, over the age of 60, there has been a 10% increase in morbidity since the beginning of August, and this has been stable in this age group compared to the peak of the second wave. According to Segal, this may be due to the fact that young people are now being tested less frequently.

The director of the Hadassah Medical Center, Prof. Zeev Rothstein, on Monday morning criticized the state’s preparations for continuing to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are expecting a flare-up in the religious sector in the near future, where school has reopened, and we have not yet organized to make periodic samples of faculty personnel there,” Rothstein told Reshet Bet radio. “We’re wasting time. Are we going to say once again why did we reopen? Why didn’t we act? – Instead of getting serious about it and also preparing for the school opening on September 1, and preparing a testing plan to prevent major outbreaks. It can be done. The desire is there, but getting organized takes too long.”

As of Monday morning, there have been 103,151 infections of the coronavirus in Israel since last February. Currently, 398 are in critical condition, and 834 have died. On Sunday only 3,413 tests were done, and the new cases on Sunday reached 960.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.