…The new lockdown imposes stay-at-home orders on all Israel, allowing citizens to distance themselves from their residences by about half a mile if they need essentials such as food or medicine…
…Israel’s hospital system is overwhelmed and on a fast track to collapse, according to the nation’s top experts responsible for COVID-19 patients.
At an extraordinary press conference, Dr. Avishai Elis, the secretary of the Israel’s Internal Medicine Association, warned the public of an imminent disaster and the “tragic implications” of the paralysis which has taken hold of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government regarding the nation’s hospitals….
…For every coronavirus ward opening up, she noted, a non-coronavirus ward closes. There are not enough doctors to operate both. Patients who would otherwise receive top-notch care were being discharged early and “in the coming months hospitals will be forced to make unimaginable choices,” she said.
The Health Ministry announced on Thursday that due to shortages, it is experimenting with the reuse of PPE for medical staff in hospital COVID wards.
Hospital directors were also incensed by the Health Ministry’s refusal to provide doctors with flu shots from the first batch that arrived in Israel— advising them to wait till November—and by the ministry’s lack of transparency regarding contagion.
Dr. Tamy Shohat, a professor of preventive medicine and epidemiology at Tel Aviv University’s medical school, described her failed efforts, during the first wave to obtain raw data collected by Israeli authorities. “Today,” she said, “the situation is so desperate. We had 9,000 positive cases today. Where did they test? In which neighborhoods? Only among the ultra-Orthodox? Among people exposed to someone with COVID-19? All Israel? It is impossible to understand anything from this.”….
…On Sept. 22, Hebrew University professor Yinon Ashkenazy warned the authorities that Israel would cross the red line of 800 acute COVID-19 patients by the end of the week, meaning all the nation’s hospitals would be at full capacity.
His prediction was borne out. On Thursday, Israel had 812 COVID-19 patients in critical care, with the figures mounting….
….Following the effective handling of the pandemic’s first wave, its resurgence came a short two months after the government shambolically reopened schools, lifted constraints on massive public gatherings, and Netanyahu urged Israelis: “Enjoy yourselves. Have a beer.”…
…..On Thursday, for the first time in Israeli history, the army announced that military medical personnel will treat civilians in two coronavirus wards it will open at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center.
Rambam, the largest hospital in Israel’s north, is among the best-prepared medical centers. Last week, in anticipation of the oncoming onslaught, it opened its Fortified Underground Emergency Hospital for the first time since it was built, in 2014, originally with the aim of protecting patients from incoming Hezbollah missiles located in nearby Southern Lebanon.
Hidden 54 feet underground, the bomb-proof bunker has 770 beds, including 170 adapted to patients on ventilators, and is now Israel’s largest dedicated coronavirus treatment center….