Is a Second Coronavirus Wave Hitting Israel? Warning Signs Are Certainly There

There’s little doubt that the growing number of coronavirus cases, which have climbed from four a day to over 100 a day in less than a week, is concerning – prompting legitimate questions about whether we are facing a second wave.

To understand where we are and where we’re going, let’s go back to the graph I prepared at the beginning of the crisis (updated below). Lockdown restrictions were lifted in a number of phases (quickly, it must be said) without increased infection rates, which allowed further restrictions to be lifted. How did that occur without a rise in infections? Both because of the repercussions of the lockdown and the small number of infectious people. Oh, and luck.

Scenarios for coming out of lockdown

Super spreaders

Then came the latest phase of restrictions being lifted, with the mass return to school and, almost simultaneously, a weeklong heat wave and permission for people to walk around without masks. That, it seems, was possibly a step too far.

Mass gatherings without masks, and contradictory advice from experts who managed to confuse the public so that some stopped being careful, created a fertile ground for super spreaders – the scientific name for a single, highly infectious person who enters an unprotected setting.

We must remember that this disease, according to all the evidence of recent weeks abroad and in Israel, does not spread monotonously from one person to another, but in “explosions” of mass infection among unprotected groups.

At this point, it seems that at least 10 percent of students and staff tested at the Gymnasia high school in Rehavia, Jerusalem, were infected recently – and that is probably set to rise further. And in one of the best-known incidents, 53 of 61 choir members at a rehearsal in Washington state last March became infected when one individual had the coronavirus. There are also no few examples of nursing homes abroad quickly becoming “coronavirus ships” with huge infection rates and concomitant mortality.