by Alice Rothchild, MD
We’re pleased to repost this weekly report by JWE board member Alice Rothchild, MD, which was earlier posted by the Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council (JVP-HAC).
This resource will be updated regularly to provide a full picture of the unfolding pandemic and the medical, political and economic ramifications in real time.
Please note that Coronavirus cases are an underestimate given the lack of testing, resources, and asymptomatic carriers. We recognize that in resource poor areas just as Gaza and the West Bank, these numbers are a major underrepresentation and fail to reflect the impact of the pandemic on these populations.
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As of July 10 the numbers of Coronavirus cases:
West Bank 228,792 (includes 28,841 in East Jerusalem* unchanged since 4/24)
*One theory: because of the high vaccination rate in Israel, (before the Delta variant), most clinics are not testing for Covid and East Jerusalemites have access to sick funds which are not doing a lot of testing – it is still unclear if East Jerusalem is being counted by Israel AND again by the Palestinian Ministry of Health and or WHO…still trying to figure that out…any leads appreciated)
As of July 3 the numbers of Coronavirus cases (note delays in data collection due to recent assaults and chaos) in the region:
West Bank 228,610 (6/25) (includes 28,841 in East Jerusalem (6/25)* unchanged since 4/24)
Gaza 113,751 (6/25) 114,853 – MOH
As of June 26 the numbers of Coronavirus cases (note delays in data collection due to recent assaults and chaos) in the region:
West Bank 228,560 (6/22) (includes 28,841 in East Jerusalem * unchanged since 4/24)
Gaza 113,266 (6/22)
As of June 19 the numbers of Coronavirus cases (note delays in data collection due to recent assaults and chaos) in the region:
West Bank 228,409 (includes 28,841 in East Jerusalem *) as of 6/12 unchanged since 4/24, (199,666 WB MOH 6/18)
Gaza 111,843 as of 6/12 WHO, (112, 668 MOH 6/18)
Numbers for occupied Palestinian territories are from World Health Organization unless specified as Ministry of Health. Numbers for Israel are from Coronavirus Tracker: Israel and Worldwide
July 4 Israel
The number of serious coronavirus cases in Israel has risen by almost 50% since last week, Health Ministry data released on July 4, as the Delta variant continues to spread across the country. According to the Health Ministry, 326 new COVID-19 cases were diagnosed on Friday and 185 on Saturday, with the number of serious cases currently standing at 35 – 11 more than the number reported last Sunday. Within this group, 17 are in critical condition and 16 are on ventilators. Fourteen of the 35 cases defined as serious have received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
Some 56% of Israelis have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine, but a new percentage has raised its head: The highly contagious Delta variant is now responsible for more than 90% of Israel’s cases, according to tests of the virus’ genome among confirmed cases. The 90% was only 60% about two weeks ago; Delta, which was first discovered in India, is clearly outpacing the Alpha variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom.
Israel’s Health Ministry may recommend a third coronavirus vaccine for those with compromised immune systems, such as people with autoimmune diseases, people who have undergone organ transplants, and cancer patients. The pandemic response team was expected to discuss the matter, but no decision has been reported. The need for a third vaccination is a subject of dispute, and Pfizer’s protocol does not make such a recommendation for any specific class of people. Nevertheless, the ministry is considering it to raise the level of antibodies among these groups of patients, and thus boost their immunity to the coronavirus.
July 5 Israel
Israel recorded 343 new coronavirus cases on July 4, the Health Ministry reported. The figure breaks a three-month record in new patient numbers as the Delta variant continues to spread throughout the country. More than half of the new coronavirus patients are vaccinated (51%), according to the health ministry. In 50,000 tests carried out, 0.7% returned positive results. The number of serious coronavirus cases in Israel has also risen by almost 50% since last week, according to Health Ministry data.
The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has dropped to 64% effectiveness in preventing infection in Israel as the Delta variant continues to spread across the country, the Health Ministry said, adding that the vaccine is 93% effective in preventing hospitalizations and severe symptoms.
July 6 Israel
The Israeli Health Ministry reported 501 new coronavirus cases in Israel on July 5, a 50% increase from the previous day. The figure is the highest since March 30, when 571 tested positive for the virus. Out of the new infections on Monday, 42% had been vaccinated against the virus.
More than 30,000 Israelis were required to go into quarantine in the past two weeks after being exposed to a confirmed coronavirus carrier, posing a challenge that police and municipal authorities, by their own admission, are unequipped to handle. Only a few dozen fines were handed out to quarantine violators by municipal police, even as the spread of the Delta variant of the virus sent up the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, and with it the number of quarantine orders.
The coronavirus pandemic adversely affected the employment of Palestinian citizens of Israel more than Israeli Jews, a new report by the Employment Service has revealed. According to the report, the April employment rate among Palestinian citizens of Israel fell 11.7% compared to the period before the coronavirus hit (from 41.4% in January 2020 to 36.5% in April), while the drop was 8.4% among ultra-Orthodox Jews and 7.2% among non-Haredi Jews. Based on statistics from the entire year, it is clear that when the lockdowns ended, non-Haredi Jewish men returned to the workforce relatively quickly, while recovery for Haredi men and Palestinian citizens of Israel was slower.
July 7 Gaza
“We had the ingredients for an imminent catastrophe: our health system is fragmented and fragile,” said a senior nurse at Al-Rantisi hospital in Gaza. “Fourteen years of isolation from medical development was reflected during the pandemic. We had to learn how to contain an infectious disease in a besieged city with our limited resources.”
Medical Aid for Palestinians
July 7 Occupied territories
The British group Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP) shares resources on the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of Palestinian healthcare workers, and urges supporters to post or amend a series of posts for social media in English and Arabic on dealing with death and distress.
Medical Aid for Palestinians
Medical Aid for Palestinians
July 7 Israel
The Health Ministry reported 521 new coronavirus cases in Israel on July 6, an increase of 20 cases from the previous day. The figure is the highest since March 30, when 571 tested positive for the virus. As of July 7 morning, there are 40 patients in serious condition – the most since late May – representing an increase of two from the previous day, with 17 in critical condition and 16 on ventilators. The rate of positive tests in Israel has also stabilized in recent days at 0.7%. This comes amid concern over the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, which is now responsible for more than 90% of Israel’s cases, according to tests of the virus’ genome among confirmed cases.
A vaccinated passenger who arrived in Israel from abroad has been diagnosed with the country’s first case of a new coronavirus variant known as Delta Plus. Another person came into contact with the confirmed passenger and is currently awaiting a COVID-19 test result.
The Delta Plus variant is very similar to the more widespread Delta variant, and it is still not clear if it’s more contagious or dangerous than the Delta variant. The Delta Plus variant is different in its spike protein on the surface of the virus, which enables the virus to bind to a cell and infect it.
July 8 West Bank
In a pandemic year, Palestinian workers have been grappling with a virus and an occupation. Six Palestinian workers share how the COVID-19 crisis has affected their livelihoods while navigating Israeli checkpoints, permits, and restrictions.
July 8 Israel
The number of serious coronavirus cases in Israel has almost doubled in the past week and is now standing at 46, according to data released by the Health Ministry. In addition, Israel reported 518 new COVID-19 cases on July 7, raising the number of active cases to 3,568. The death toll from the virus now stands at 6,429. Out of the 74,421 coronavirus tests conducted on July 7, 0.7% came back positive.
Two COVID patients died in Israel on July 7. One was an unvaccinated 48-year-old man. He died at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon. His doctors said that he was transferred from a different hospital and was on a ventilator before he succumbed to the illness. They added that he didn’t suffer from any preexisting conditions.
July 9 West Bank
With $6 million in USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID/BHA) funding, the non-governmental organization Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is providing comprehensive support to Beit Jala and 13 other hospitals across the West Bank to strengthen their capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. USAID/BHA’s support enabled Beit Jala to expand intensive care unit capacity with appropriate equipment and provide supplies for a new COVID-19 triage area. CRS has also provided critical training on Infection Prevention and Control measures to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
July 9 Occupied territories & Israel
Latest data from Mondoweiss:
343,710 Palestinians tested positive for COVID-19; 337,824 recoveries; 3,845 deaths
Of those who tested positive, 199,913 live in the West Bank, 114,956 live in Gaza, and 28,841 live in East Jerusalem
844,989 Israelis tested positive for COVID-19; 834,687 recoveries; 6,432 deaths
While the overall number of new coronavirus cases has declined in the West Bank, the highly contagious Delta variant is spreading throughout the Palestinian territory, causing health officials to pull the alarm and enact a four-day closure over the entire city of Jenin.
The hope to quarantine the COVID-19 mutation until higher vaccination rates are reached, a plan used in many countries, doesn’t seem to be working. Vaccination rates are actually decreasing, in part because of public distrust and misinformation about side effects.
In the West Bank city of Hebron, a former epicenter of the outbreak, vaccinations declined by 24%, the UN reported.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, as of July 8 536,130 in the West Bank and Gaza have received at least one shot, and 385,465 are fully vaccinated.
Gaza currently accounts for more than 90% of current COVID-19 cases.
July 9 Israel
All travelers arriving in Israel must quarantine for 24 hours or until receiving a negative coronavirus test result as of July 16, the Health Ministry has announced. Arrivals from countries that have a severe travel warning will be required to enter a 10-day quarantine. The Health Ministry said that if the pandemic worsens in these countries, they may be added to the list of countries with the highest travel warning, to which Israelis cannot fly at all as of July 12. These countries include Russia, Brazil, and India.
Some 450 Israelis tested positive for coronavirus on July 8, marking a slight downward trend in coronavirus cases in recent days, when over 500 tested positive for the virus. Fifty-five% of those who tested positive on July 8 had been vaccinated, 38% had not received the first jab, 5% had not received the second jab and 3% of had recovered from the virus.
July 9 was the last day that Israelis could receive their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine since the inoculations that are in storage are set to expire next week.
July 10 Occupied territories
Daily data of coronavirus new cases and deaths in Palestine showed a decline.
Minister of Health reported 52 new cases in the Gaza Strip in the last 24 hours and one death, along with 133 patients recovering.
In the West Bank, eight new coronavirus cases were confirmed in 24 hours and no deaths, while 13 patients have recovered.
16 people diagnosed with coronavirus are getting treatment in hospitals, while seven are in intensive care and two are connected to ventilators.
453,468 people were vaccinated against the corona disease in the West Bank and 87,890 in the Gaza Strip.
Thanks to Trude Bennett.