Israel may have already achieved COVID-19 herd immunity, experts say

*cough* Palestinians have not. Israel may have already achieved COVID-19 herd immunity, experts say - The Week

Israel may have already achieved COVID-19 herd immunity, experts say Photo

About 56 percent of Israels 9.2 million citizens are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and another 15 percent have recovered from the disease, putting Israel squarely in herd immunity territory, Israeli public health experts tell the news and travel site Israel21c. Herd immunity, or the point at which enough people in a population have developed antibodies to a disease that non-immune people are protected, is estimated to kick in at about 65 percent to 70 percent with COVID-19, explained Dr. Eyal Leshem at Israels Sheba Medical Center, the countrys largest hospital.

"Were seeing a decline in the number of cases now despite the return to mass gatherings and schools following the third lockdown, because most of the people the infected person will meet are immune by now," Leshem said. Israel has an aggressive, very successful immunization program, but children arent yet vaccinated and neither are all adults, so it isnt out of the woods entirely.

Currently, Israel is closed to most non-citizens, and when tourism resumes, "Israel is expected to be a very safe place for travelers because of our lower risk of transmission," Leshem told Israel21c. As long as travelers are fully vaccinated or test negative for the virus, tourism will have "a reasonable risk-benefit balance" for Israel, too, but "there are no magic tricks here," he added. "If unvaccinated people travel without full quarantine and testing, we will increase the risk of reintroducing the disease to Israel." Peter Weber

Americans are getting vaccinated — and professionally groomed, finally — but COVID-19 isnt done with us yet, Stephen Colbert said on Wednesdays Late Show. "The U.K. variant is now the dominant coronavirus strain in the U.S., making it the most sickening British import since Piers Morgan."

"Speaking of awful things about to go away," Colbert said, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) "is currently under investigation for violating federal sex-trafficking laws for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old. ... Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing, but sources say that just before the previous president left office, Gaetz asked for a blanket pardon" for "any illegal activity hes ever done — like innocent people do." Thanks to his close relationship with Trump, Gaetz "had reason to believe he might get that pardon," but White House lawyers reportedly shot down the request as a bad precedent, he said. "Do you know how shady you have to be for No. 45s lawyers to go, No thats a bad look?" He turned that into a Rudy Giuliani joke.

But Gaetz isnt a total pariah — hes a featured speaker at a pro-Trump womens group conference, Colbert said. "You could say thats putting the fox in the hen house, but Gaetz would rather hang out with the eggs."

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