Israel was one of the first countries to respond well to the coronavirus. Every step adopted by the Health Ministry was considered scandalous at the time, and within a week or two became the standard in well-managed countries.
The cessation of flights to China, placing those returning from a lengthening list of countries into quarantine, “closing the skies,” including to those returning from the United States, an epidemiological investigation surrounding every patient, limiting contacts, social distancing and finally – home quarantine for everyone. All of these steps, except for the last one, were adopted in Israel long before they were in European countries. With these decisive actions, we have received the greatest possible gift in this predicament: time.
– Netanyahu’s corona smokescreen and Gaza’s ‘God-help-us’ moment
Haaretz Weekly Ep. 70Haaretz
According to estimates, Israel has gained 14 days compared to European countries and the United States. If anyone thinks this is a short period of time, you should be aware that in “epidemic time,” this means Israel has 10-15 times fewer patients than we would expect to see now.
But time slips through our fingers in such a situation; every passing day brings us closer to the point when the healthcare system is likely to be defeated by a wave of thousands of patients who require respiratory assistance and intensive care.
Even if Israel were a country with the optimal ICU infrastructure, it would collapse after a week (with several multiples of the number of patients who could be treated). And it doesn’t have the optimal ICU infrastructure – instead, we’re at the bottom of the charts in the index of ICU beds for the population.
Therefore, at this time there is only one solution: a dramatic reduction in the number of those infected, starting tomorrow, in order to halt the multiplication. Otherwise, within two weeks Israel could reach tens of thousands of people infected, and a week later 5 percent of them would fill up all the country’s ICU beds.
Such a reduction is attainable only one way: home quarantine. For every person in his home and with his nuclear family, and to have no contact, even the most minimal, with other households. There are #stayhome movements developing worldwide, which call on everyone to stay home in the name of social solidarity. That is the “prescription” for a dramatic reduction in the number of new patients, and that is the achievement that Israel must attain now. Today.