|Pic courtesy WSJ|
Israel's experience with the Delta strain of the virus, and the success or otherwise of its vaccination programme is instructive for Australia, given the likely rocky road ahead on the road map set out by the PM and the NSW Premier.
As this is written, Israel is dealing with a third wave of the virus, specifically the Delta variant. On September 9th 2021, Israel reported 5861 new cases and 6 new deaths. This contrasted with the situation in 2020 when the country went into lockdown averaging 4000 new daily infections, and daily deaths reached a high of 101 on January 20th 2021.
So the rate of infection is higher in 2021, but the death rate lower. The other change since a few months ago is that the lockdowns in Israel were lifted prior to the increased rate of infections.
Because we are not comparing like with like in two aspects (a different more infectious variant and lighter restrictions) it is difficult to come to definite conclusions, but some things seem evident.
1. More people are becoming infected, but fewer are being hospitalised and dying.
2. The lockdowns were effective in reducing transmission, and lifting them has increased transmission.
3. More people are recovering, but it is too early to understand the nature of that recovery.
All of this suggests caution.
This caution should emanate not only from the figures above, but also from the possibility (or likelihood) that new variants will emerge. That is, after all, how viruses behave.
Vaccination is not the silver bullet, but it does seem to help. It needs to be remembered that even in Israel, only 61.1% of people are fully vaccinated.
That doesn't bode well for Australia, where the figure stands at 32.6% fully vaccinated as this is posted.