The Israeli Corona Lockdowns – a Soap Opera

Corona Lockdown

Another lockdown or the continuing of the second one?

The first Israeli lockdown started at the eleventh of March 2020 and lasted until the twentieth of May 2020. That lockdown lasted 7 days, 10 weeks or 2.3 months. The whole population was motivated to help out and they (in general and in majority) kept themselves on the guidelines of the government. There was a certain openness of the government with Prime Minister Netanyahu daily on TV explaining what was going on, what the status was and trying to motivate the people to continue with the guidelines of the government. The whole show was not a soap opera yet, that comes later.

The second lockdown started at the fifteenth of September 2020 and this supposed to last only three weeks. That lockdown was handled in a totally different way. There was no impression of openness, there was no Netanyahu addressing the population every day, except there were announcements from the Israeli Medical authorities. The whole population saw Netanyahu fighting for his political life during that time (he still is) and went even further by lying about the corona statistics. Now, that's like a real soap opera.

That second lockdown never ended. The government started to release the society and economy step for step, but until now, they didn't release everything and everyone. There are still people and parts of the economy in (partial) lockdown. That lockdown lasts already 109 days, 15.6 weeks or 3.6 months.

Large parts of the Israeli population got restless with the situation. The resistance against a lockdown was growing rapidly, but not enough to stop it. And almost everyone in Israel you saw the disobedience of the government guidelines and rules. The Israelis were resisting passively. For example, there was a rule that it was not allowed to go further than a couple of hundred of meters from your location. But the population in general went out without any problem. The number of cars in the cities were almost as much as usual, as if there was no lockdown.

The reasons for the passive resistance is the reasons for the lockdown. For the majority of the population, they saw the reason for the lockdown as political and not medical. During 2020, the Israeli government is in crisis with itself. The current coalition was busy more with bickering than governing. No time for the corona crisis.

And another reason is that the heavy price of the lockdowns became public knowledge. There is a heavy price to pay in the Israeli economy, and there is a very heavy price to pay in the wellbeing of Israelis. More and more people became (mentally) sick, the number of suicides went up dramatically (and in accordance with the Israeli traditions, the government don't publish those numbers "suddenly"). And what's more, the financial situation of the population went down dramatically, hunger and despair are dominating throughout the Israel population.

All of that together, the population got the impression of incompetence and dirty politics of its government. At the end, it resulted in the fall of the Israeli government and new elections in 2021. Another election.

The third lockdown was announced at the 24th of December 2020 and three days later the third lockdown (or better, the extension of the second one) started at the 27th. Currently (time of writing) the country is in lockdown. The Israeli government announced that this lockdown is a short one, and it will only last two weeks. Nobody believes that.

Lockdown(s) of Israel  First   Second 
Begin 11/03/2020 15/09/2020
End 20/05/2020 02/01/2021
Duration (days) 70 109
Duration (weeks) 10.0 15.6
Duration (month) 2.3 3.6
 Third lockdown  27/12/2020 02/01/2021
Duration (days) 6
Duration (weeks) 0.9
Duration (month) 0.2

It'll take at least two weeks before the curve is expected to be lowered, looking at the two previous start of the lockdowns! That two weeks they claimed is unrealistic and obviously the government is trying to manipulate the general population that this lockdown is not so bad compared with the last one. It would be so refreshing to hear the truth.

Testing for the virus

And if you see the above chart, you can notice that the first peaks of infections is drastically lower than the second (and even the third peak).  There is an obvious reason for:

  1. A new infection can only be found (and registered) when the infection is found. The only way to acknowledge that a person is infected with the coronavirus is by testing.
  2. At the first half of 2020, the ability of testing was limited. First because of the chronical lack of testing kids and secondly the government didn't (or was not able to) install testing centers all over the country.

We can state, without any doubt, that the numbers of infected people in the first half year of 2020 was much higher than acknowledged, because of the lack of testing the population.

In the second half of 2020, the government was speaking about the first and second wave of the corona pandemic in Israel. I doubt that. I think it's more realistic to state that the number of new infections gradually went up undetected. When the government finally increased the number of corona tests, they "suddenly" detected an increase of corona infection cases (which were already there for months).

Look at the latest wave of new infections

When we focus on the latest peaks of the new infections, we see the following in new infections, recoveries and mortalities (death):

New Infections focused on latest infections for Israel
New Infections focused on latest infections for Israel
New recoveries focused on latest infections for Israel
New recoveries focused on latest infections for Israel
New mortalities focused on latest infections for Israel
New mortalities focused on latest infections for Israel
Daily increase infections, recoveries and mortalities focused on latest infections for Israel
Daily increased  infections, recoveries and mortalities focused on latest infections for Israel
  • As we can see at the new infections from the 20th of November 2020, it goes steady up from 774 cases till 5,248 cases per day. That is 85% increase of the new infections!
  • But not all is bad. The recoveries (people who were declared cured from the coronavirus) went up from 680 recoveries till 3,588 recoveries, an increase of 81%!
  • The mortality (death) was at the beginning 6 death per day and went up to 31 death per day, an increase of about 81%.







Active cases

In the corona statistics, we monitor three bases numbers for the pandemic: the cases, recoveries and mortalities. Optionally are the testing, serious cases, cases hospitalized and calculate the various other numbers. One of the is the active cases.

The active cases are those people, at a given moment, who are infected. For example, when there are 10 cases, 2 recovered and 1 death, the active cases is 10 - ( 2 + 1 ) = 7. The active cases are 7 cases in this simple example.

To apply the active cases in Israel, we can see the following:

Active cases (infections) focused on latest infections for Israel
Active cases (infections) focused on latest infections for Israel. Now, this is really not good.

That means that the number of new infections are much higher than the recoveries and mortalities together. That means also that the number of new infections in this case is or out of control or they managed to increase the testing or both.

If the reason that there are so many new infections are reported is because of the increased testing, that's bad as well, if not worse. It means that we don't have a good idea how many people are really infected in Israel. It might be what we know now, it might be more (likely).

One word about the testing of people to see if they are infected by the coronavirus. The numbers, which are published by the Israeli government, 8,099,974 tests (second of January 2021), means that they performed 8,099,974 tests, not 8,099,974 people tested. It's also logical. The Israeli population is 9,197,590 (source). They way the government presents those numbers are like part of a soap opera. If it would be not so serious, it would be funny.


Indicators of the pandemic in Israel

Indicators are 'signs', which tells about - in this case - the pandemic in Israel. One of such indicators is the completeness of the pandemic.

Completeness is actually something logical. The (fight against the) pandemic is complete, when there are no new infections take place and there are no new death and recoveries. And we can calculate this number of course.

Pandemic Completeness in Israel
Pandemic Completeness in Israel

There was a time during this pandemic, that the completeness was close to 100%! That was great!! But with the new infections and the active cases, the completeness is going down. At the 22nd of November 2020, the completeness was in Israel 97.13%! Absolute unique in the whole world. There were almost no active cases anymore, most of the people were recovered! And slowly it went down till the 89.44% on the first of January 2021. Still high, but the trend of the completeness is going downward.

Another indicator is the number of active cases. The active cases are those people, who are currently infected with the coronavirus, and discovered by a coronavirus test.  How lower this number, how better it indicates that the pandemic is going on its way to end. How higher this number, how worse the it indicates that things go bad with the pandemic.

Mortality is not an indicator at all. Sorry to say that with the people who are directly involved with family or friends of those who died, but it's a fact. The coronavirus by itself does not kill, just like many other viruses like the influenza. But what the coronavirus can do is that it complicates the health of those who are already serious sick. This is exactly the same as with influenza. All the information about this subject is publicly available at the medical authorities in the internet.

Another indicator is the percentage of the population, who are infected with the coronavirus. That percentage in Israel is 0.51% at the first of January 2021 and in average this percentage is 0.18%. In Israel, 45% of the population get infected each year by Flu B!

To compare this percentage with other countries, in the US this is 3.45 at the first of January 2021. In France this is 3.68%, Germany 0.41%, India this is 0.02%, Russia 0.35%. Worldwide, this percentage is 0.45% of the total population is infected by the coronavirus.

One point of comparison, 45.40% of the world population are infected with influenza each year. In Israel, 45% are infected by the Flu B.

The mortality rate of the coronavirus worldwide is about 2%. The mortality rate of influenza is 0.07% and 3.27% of the world population dies of pneumonia each year.

The whole debacle of the handling of the corona pandemic is more of a soap opera than it is a serious open and national undertaken to fight one common enemy. Instead the soap opera invites more parties to snarl and curse each other.

How could the corona pandemic be better handled in Israel

It's a mess in Israel. We all can see similar happenings in a soap opera on TV. Lockdown after lockdown and without end, while the politicians are bickering like chickens, professors in the medical field frowning like disgruntled parents with teenage children. Social distancing and masks, and it's unlikely that this will end as well. With the arrival of the vaccines, the government is joyfully announcing that the end is in sight and many people in Israel are hopeful. And they can't help themselves with empty promises of restored freedom, back to the old times.

But looking back, what could we do not to get into this mess? I can answer that. First, what went wrong.

No openness. That's the keyword and actually, this is so obvious if you're in a national crisis influencing the whole population, that you can only resolve it with the corporation of the same population, who is motivated and assists and helps where it can.

We saw that a bit with the first lockdown, where Netanyahu took visible charge and addressed the full population each day. Openness, or at the very least the suggestion of it.

This is also the biggest reason why so many people in Israel are so frustrated, why we're in repeated lockdowns and why we need to gamble our lives as people and nation on a untested vaccine!

But then things changed. Netanyahu didn't address the population with a daily update anymore. He pushed a panel of medical specialists towards the population (let them take the heath). A panel of specialists from the medical fields (mainly) and all of them are VIPs, but no really specialists.

Their decisions were fueled by medical reasons, not the reasons for a much more complex situation, running a country. Where were the real specialists in economy, trade, finance, law, mass psychologists, police, organization, analysts, statisticians, and more?

In the Israeli political world, Netanyahu and Ganz were involved in a continues political battle, with not much time leading the country in battle against the pandemic.

Several times, the (medical) advice of the panel of specialists were overwritten by Netanyahu for obvious political reasons, which had nothing to do with the medical issues of the pandemic. It only made things worse.

Throughout the year, Netanyahu, the panel of (medical) specialists treated the Israeli population like little naughty children. They gave the indication that the closures were like some form of punishments (they still do that). Furthermore, they were also pointing their gnarled fingers at the several groups in the Israeli population, like the Arabs, the Jewish religious people, protesters and singled them out. Again dirty politics getting involved.

The prompt response was going from passive resistance to active resistance, increased frustration and ignoring everything the government says. The Arabs simply ignored the government and their stories, the protesters were brownbeated, but continued to resist in a way, the religious people were actively resisting the government and their enforcers, the police.

The Israeli government was (and still does) handling the Israeli population like authoritative and stern, disappointed parents. 

What could be better?

Openness. Do everything related to the pandemic in public. Every day address the nation. Everything they do on live TV and and available in public archives. Any document, anything related to the pandemic made immediately available for the public.

Specialists. A broad spectrum of specialists from all layers of society, with a separate medical panel of real specialists, not only Professors.

Making decisions based on the ability to be enforced and implemented, not some political slogan.

The miracle, the beginning of the end! The Arrival of the Holy Vaccine

First some words about developing a vaccine in general, which is not applied with the current COVID-19 vaccines!

  1. About 1 out of every 100,000 vaccinations and typically involve allergic reactions that can cause hives or difficulty breathing. However, vaccines are the safest they ever have been in history and each vaccine undergoes rigorous clinical trials to ensure their safety and efficacy before FDA approval.
  2. Prior to human testing, vaccines are run through computer algorithms to model how they will interact with the immune system and are tested on cells in a culture. During the next round of testing, researchers study vaccines in animals, including mice, rabbits, guinea pigs, and monkeys.
  3. Vaccines that pass each of these stages of testing are then approved by the FDA to start a three-phase series of human testing. During phase I trials, a vaccine is tested in a group of about 20 people with the primary goal of assessing the vaccine's safety. In practice, those 20 people are carefully selected and do not represent the population.
  4. Phase II trials expand the testing to include 50 to several hundred people. During this stage, the vaccine's safety continues to be evaluated and researchers also gather data on the effectiveness and the ideal dose of the vaccine in a isolated laboratory environment.
  5. Vaccines determined to be safe and efficacious then advance to phase III trials, which focuses on the efficacy of the vaccine in hundreds to thousands of volunteers. This phase can take several years to complete and researchers use this opportunity to compare the vaccinated volunteers to those who have not been vaccinated to highlight any true reactions to the vaccine that occur.

The last didn't happen with the COVID-19 vaccinations. They only implemented the expansion of phase II trials.

Certain vaccines have had harmful outcomes identified after being used in mass vaccination programs. In 1976 in the United States, a mass vaccination program swine flu vaccine was discontinued after cases of Guillain–Barré syndromeWilliam Foege of the CDC estimated that the frequency of Guillain-Barré was four times higher in vaccinated people than in those not receiving the swine flu vaccine. Dengvaxia, the only approved vaccine for Dengue fever, was found to increase the risk of hospitalization for Dengue fever by 1.58 times in children of 9 years or younger, resulting in the suspension of a mass vaccination program in the Philippines in 2017.

Pandemrix, a vaccine for the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 given to around 31 million people was found to have a higher level of harmful 'events' than alternative vaccines. And that vaccine was prepared with the latest and most modern methodologies and technologies known to humankind.

So tell me, do you wonder why so many people are asking questions about a vaccine, which is not tested? And that's not all.

Some relevant vaccine questions

  1. I'm vaccinated. Does that mean that I can't carry the coronavirus? Answer: Unknown.
  2. I'm vaccinated. Can I spread the coronavirus to others? Answer: Unknown.
  3. I'm vaccinated. Can I be infected by the vaccine? Answer: Unknow.
  4. I'm vaccinated. Am I immune against the mutations of the coronavirus? Answer: Unknown.
  5. I'm vaccinated. Can I throw away my mask? Answer: No.
  6. I'm vaccinated. Can I hug my family and friends? Answer: No.
  7. Whole Israel is vaccinated. Is Israel coronavirus free? Answer: Unknown.
  8. Can we go back to normal in 2021? Answer: No.

There are so many questions open about the vaccine and its effects, and only because the vaccine is not tested.

The government and medical authorities gamble with the lives of all of us. If they are wrong and the vaccine will cause widespread disease, it'll be an existential threat.

The vaccination program

The vaccination program against the coronavirus is not a local or national program. It's a global program. This program contains the following parts:

  1. Vaccinate the main countries. Each government is responsible for the vaccination process on a national level. We're at the beginning of this phase. It's expected to take up to 2 years.
  2. Vaccinate the countries, who can't support or handle such vaccination program. The UN will be involved with this.
  3. Vaccinate everything else, which are/were left. Also this is the show for the UN.

In Israel, we'll take many months, probably six months to vaccinate the biggest part of the 9 million large population. Other countries like the US, counts 350 million people, who needs to be vaccinated. That will take at least two years, if not longer. The same for the rest of the world, especially with populous countries.

In order to vaccinate the 7.8 billion people will take at least 4 till 5 years, possible longer. And that's also hard to estimate, because the organizations who will oversee and organize the vaccinations for the rest of the countries and world are still not setup.

Downloading the raw data and spreadsheet with analysis

You can download the raw data and the spreadsheet with the analysis and a copy of the raw data within here.

The file itself is 1.65 Mb large and in ZIP-format. You need an program to de-compress the content. In case you don't know how to do this, or you can't use such programs, contact me and I supply you with what you want.

The content itself consists out of four CSV files and one XLSX (Excel spreadsheet) file.

1 thought on “The Israeli Corona Lockdowns – a Soap Opera”

  1. It took me a while to write this piece. But!!! This article is not so much about Israel and the pandemic. It can easily be applied to any country. I would replace the individual statistics about that county X and I let the rest of the text intact.

    Because what happens in the world about the fight against the coronavirus is the same. The populations are confused, afraid and panicking and that’s a very dangerous combination. Governments don’t treat this as an open, shared and global undertaken, and instead they act with enforcement and complaining and hiding certain information.

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