Israel Is Entering Second Coronavirus Wave, Reopening Risks Hundreds More Deaths, Government Agency Says

Israel is entering its second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a report released Saturday by the National Center for Information and Knowledge in the Battle Against the Coronavirus, which lays out the most severe warning recently by an official body linked to the health system.

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Experts at the center, most of them military intelligence analysts, warn that if immediate measures are not implemented, the national infection rate can reach a thousand new coronavirus cases a day within a month. The comprehensive death rate may grow by hundreds.

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According to the report, new confirmed cases fell to about 16 a day in mid-May. Over the past week, the number has spiked to around 200 daily diagnoses, with Wednesday and Thursday seeing about 300 a day.

The report's authors claim that the characteristics of this second wave differ from those of the first, but are no less severe.

If measures to curb infection are not implemented and the cases do not drop, the report says, a steep rise in infection and mortality will follow in the next month. "The state of affairs may cause very difficult economic decisions, up to returning to a comprehensive lockdown," the report says. "According to our analysis, this can be avoided with more measured steps, but only if they are implemented within the coming days."

The researchers recommend reconsidering the decisions to relax certain measures made in the past few days, such as opening event halls and allowing cultural events, both to reduce the consequences and to send a different message to the public. They also suggest broadening public awareness efforts on the national and local scale, out of fear that the severity of the issue is unclear to the public.