Israel's estimated COVID-19 reproduction rate has dropped below 1, for the first time since the country launched its fastest vaccination campaign in the world, suggesting a pandemic could begin to subside, the government said today.
A "R" above 1 indicates that the infections are growing exponentially, while moving below 1 indicates a cessation of the spread of the virus at some point in the future.
The "R" index in Israel reached 1,3 on December 11. The country began vaccinating its citizens the following week. As the spread of the virus escalated, on December 27 it imposed a third national lockdown - which is still in effect.
"If we see light? "We are seeing a crack in the light," Deputy Health Minister Joab Keys told 13 TV, as Israel recorded a "R" COVID-19 of 0,99. "We achieved a break, but we achieved it at high morbidity rates."
He credited this drop in the lockdown and vaccinations, as more than 9 XNUMX million people have been vaccinated. However, he noted that the vaccines "mainly reduced the incidence of serious illness, not necessarily the number of carriers".
The reduction would have been more significant if it were not for the presence of the highly contagious British variant of the new coronavirus, the Undersecretary stressed.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, once again a candidate in the March parliamentary elections, has said vaccines could allow Israel to protect its most vulnerable populations and reopen the economy next month.