COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates: Sunday / Monday, Jan. 2-3


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Nachmann Ash said the country would pay a price for this and he wanted to see herd immunity achieved via vaccinations instead.

Modellers have warned that up to four million people could be infected by the end of January.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has admitted his current policy will not prevent a big rise in infections…

The prime minister has previously insisted the aim is to prevent a spike in serious illness while keeping the economy open, even though he has not ruled out another lockdown.

Confirmed daily infections in Israel have quadrupled to more than 3,500 in 10 days, but the number of deaths has not seen a similar rise…

Meanwhile another government adviser, Eran Segal from the Weizmann Institute, warned that cases would soon outstrip Israel’s testing capacity, leaving the country unable to identify new infections.

He predicted that between two and four million people would be infected over the coming three weeks – but that a lower number of people would suffer severe illness than in the previous wave…

About two-thirds of Israel’s population of more than nine million have been fully vaccinated, which the health ministry defines as having either had a third dose or recently had a second dose.

However many of those eligible for a third dose have not yet had one…

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Puerto Rico’s actually doing better than many ‘mainland’ states, AFAICT:

Rafael Irizarry, a Harvard University statistician who keeps a dashboard of Puerto Rico Covid-19 data, tweeted the daunting facts: A third of all coronavirus cases the island has recorded since the start of the pandemic occurred in the past month. The number of cases per 100,000 residents jumped to 225, from three, in three weeks.

In December, the number of hospitalizations doubled — twice…

Without the polarizing politics that have plagued the debate over vaccines in other parts of the country, nearly 85 percent of those in Puerto Rico have received at least one vaccine dose, and about 75 percent have gotten both shots.

But in the face of a highly contagious new variant, a high vaccination rate is not that meaningful anymore, Mr. Irizarry said. Most in Puerto Rico have passed the six-month limit beyond which the vaccine’s effectiveness begins to wane, yet at least 40 percent have yet to receive their booster shots, health officials said…

On Thursday, the Scientific Coalition, a group of scientists and health professionals that has been advising the governor, recommended even stricter measures, such as limits on alcohol sales and shorter hours for bars and other establishments. On Friday, the governor followed the recommendation and ordered businesses closed between midnight and 5 a.m. from Jan. 4 until Jan. 18. He also mandated booster shots for restaurant employees and public safety workers.

“It’s a message that’s hard to digest when two weeks ago the case numbers here were among the lowest in the world,” said Daniel Colón-Ramos, a Yale University professor who is president of the coalition.

The measures are particularly hard in Puerto Rico, he said, where it is hard to overstate the importance of a holiday season that starts at Thanksgiving and lasts until Jan. 6. He described it as “Fourth of July plus the Super Bowl.”…

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