Earlier this week, The New York Times praised the Israeli mass vaccination experiment. “In the most extensive real-world test so far, Israel has demonstrated that a robust coronavirus vaccination program can have a quick and powerful impact, showing the world a plausible way out of the pandemic. Cases of Covid-19 and hospitalizations dropped dramatically among people who were vaccinated within just a few weeks… early data suggests that the vaccines are working nearly as well in practice as they did in clinical trials.”
For one reason or another, the Israeli media is not as enthusiastic as the NY Times. On the penultimate day of Israel’s third lockdown, the most read Israeli online outlet, Ynet, carried the following headline: Spectacle of Failure: Third Lockdown Compared to Previous Ones.
The article unveiled the hopelessness and duplicitous nature of Israel’s COVID strategy and politics. Ynet points out that, despite the baseless promises made by the government and its prime minister, after six weeks in lockdown the situation didn’t improve at all. Despite Israel leading the world mass vaccination experiment, its COVID transmission rate is among the worst in the Western world.
The Ynet article stresses that “tomorrow at 7:00 AM the third lockdown will end, a month and a half after it was imposed – and the COVID data is much worse today compared with the situation at the beginning… at the point of departure of the third lockdown at the end of December, the rate of positive tests was 4.9%, the number of critical hospitalized patients was then 949, the number of verified cases was 4,010. Prior to the tightening of the lockdown, on January 8, the positive rate was 6.6%, the number of critical patients – 949, and the number of verified cases – 7,644.
At the peak of the third lockdown, the rate of positive cases reached 10.2%, the number of seriously ill patients climbed to 1,203 and the daily number of COVID diagnoses reached 10,114. Since then, the numbers have dropped by just a little. On Tuesday, the positive rate was 8.9%, the number of patients was 1,101 and the number of verified cases was 7,183. Even the R number, which determines whether the epidemic is spreading, has risen again to 1 in recent days.”
The combined number of vaccinated Israelis and those who recovered from COVID in the past should have provided Israel with a relatively strong herd immunity, enough to defeat the virus or at least reduce its reproduction rate. But the facts on the ground suggest the complete opposite. The transmission rate in Israel is higher than pretty much anywhere else. In fact the troubling correlation between mass vaccination and illness suggests that the more you vaccinate, the more COVID cases you find….[ ]