For the past two years we have been waging a third world war against the corona virus, which has so far taken a heavy toll on human lives, standing at more than five million dead, and a social, economic and medical cost with long-term consequences.
At the height of the fight against the corona, about 1,200 seriously ill patients were hospitalized in Israel, and intensive care units were filled with patients connected to a heart-lung machine.
Many of these patients died or needed a lung transplant after their lungs were destroyed by the Delta strain.
The advent of the Omicron strain changed the rules of the game.
We went to war at low intensity, as this strain mainly affects the upper respiratory tract - the nasal, sinus and mouth cavities, and less health;
And therefore causes a highly contagious but relatively mild disease.
The rapid rate of infection pushes the other variants, and recovery produces an immune response that most likely protects against the other variants as well.
In the long run, the expected large number of recoverers will contribute to the herd immunity and help truncate the fifth wave.
In the immediate term, however, there is a risk arising from the proliferation of those infected.
This is because even a small proportion of them may manifest themselves in a large number of severe patients, which will lead to a burden on the health system that is simultaneously dealing with influenza patients.
In light of this, we need to change the way the epidemic is managed.
Borrowing from the basketball courts, we must move from "regional protection", ie closure to the entire population, to "personal protection" of the elderly and the chronically ill.
To this end, the proportion of those vaccinated in the population, including children, vaccinated with a second dose who have not yet received the booster and those who have not been vaccinated at all, should be increased first and foremost.
Second, the vaccination of people aged 60 and over and at-risk populations in the fourth vaccine should be encouraged through advocacy.
This vaccine protects against serious illness, and combined with the avoidance of crowds and periodic corona tests - it can provide the necessary protective shell for the elderly and vaccine-suppressed.
Third, PCR testing should continue to be prioritized for the benefit of the elderly and immunocompromised.
The main goal of these tests is to find candidates for anti-corona drugs such as Paxlobide, which reduces the chance of a serious illness by 89 percent.
At the end of the epidemic, unfortunately, it is still impossible to predict because additional mutations may develop, which will make the virus resistant to the current vaccine.
To reduce the risk, the Western world must also provide vaccines to third world countries, from which a violent variant may emerge.
At the national level, the State of Israel must strengthen public medicine.
The health care system needs standards that have been promised - and not given - and the addition of staff to staff the intensive care, inpatient and geriatric wards.
Strengthening the health care system will contribute strategically to Israel, and will help us deal with the subsequent corona waves.
The challenge we face these days, with the increase in the number of infected in Corona and the increase in the number of isolated, is not simple.
However, I have no doubt that if we learn to change the way we deal - together we will win.
Wishing us all health.
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