**Israel sees over 10,000 new coronavirus cases, highest daily number since April**
**Health Ministry reports 168 people in serious condition, a rise of 95% from last week; health officials tell hospitals to prepare for reopening of dedicated COVID-19 wards**
**By Times Of Israel staff, 6/20/2022**
**The reproduction number (R) continued to fluctuate, standing at 1.32 as of Monday morning.**
**Earlier in the month it stood at 1.52. The R figure is based on rates from ten days earlier, and it measures how many people each coronavirus carrier infects on average, with any number above 1 meaning the spread of COVID-19 is increasing. It began to rise above 1 in mid-May, having stayed below that threshold for nearly two months....**
**While Israel has seen rising infection numbers for a few weeks, an increase in seriously ill patients presents a real concern as the country deals with the spread of the new variant BA.5....** [end quote]
Israel had an indoor mask mandate until April 24, 2022.
Covid cases are rising again in the U.S. but the death toll isn’t rising as quickly for many reasons. That shift stemmed in part from a growing share of cases occurring in people who were fully vaccinated, previously infected or both. In Arizona, for instance, the share of Covid cases being recorded in vaccinated people grew to 60 percent in April from 25 percent five months earlier. Anti-viral pills are available. As before, the death rate is highest in the elderly. Most people in the ICU have exacerbations of previous illnesses, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Even though Covid deaths have dropped, there are still about 350 per day in the U.S. – twice as high as vehicle accidents or suicide. And the death rate is spiking in New York, which was hit first in 2020 and gets the latest variants from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The latest research shows that booster vaccination does provide some protection against BA.4 and BA.5 (which have identical spike proteins but different mutations in other places that provide immune escape). Unfortunately, the booster is not as effective against 4&5 as it was against Omicron BA.1 & 2. This was in people who had previously been infected by Delta or Omicron and also boosted.
Infection during the Omicron BA.1 wave did not appear to offer effective protection against the newly emerged sublineages, 4 & 5. This is a huge concern because millions of people were infected last winter with Omicron BA.1 but many of them have not been boosted. According to Reuters (June 14), Omicron sub-variants BA.4, BA.5 account for 21% of COVID variants in U.S.
We have all seen how dangerous Covid variants have rapidly spread from a small percentage to a wave that rolls across the U.S.
With the summer travel and party season upon us, expect a wave of Omicron 4&5 to hit the U.S. in 2022 the way that Delta hit in 2021.
I am continuing my Covid precautions. Shopping early in the morning when the store is empty and masking.
DH felt unwell this week and had a temperature of 100 degrees. I took 2 Covid tests but was negative on both. (DH didn’t go out so the only way he would catch it would be from me.) He’s feeling better now. We are both vaccinated and double boosted. We’re both over age 65 with chronic lung problems.
I’d like to travel this year but the combination of a new, dangerous strain of Covid plus the nightmares in commercial aviation is giving me doubts.