As Covid-19 rises globally, Israel emerges in post-pandemic life :: WRAL.com
CNN – Shuki Weiss is starting to see the post-Covid light.
The music promoter, who helped bring the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rolling Stones to perform in Israel, began to feel his hard-hit industry wake up last month.
“Every show that we have advertised in the past 14 days has sold in four or five hours, which is not regular in Israel,” Weiss told CNN. “In Israel, when people see an advertisement, see that a show is coming, they don’t normally storm the box office … Now, however, the situation is completely different. Every show that is advertised, you see people rushing in, blocking our website … All shows sell out within hours. People are desperate to see shows here. “
While the world recorded more than 5.2 million new coronavirus infections last week, breaking the weekly record for global cases, Israel is now reporting just over 100 new infections per day, a fraction from its peak. pandemic in January.
In Israel, a sense of normalcy returns to everyday life. Masks are no longer needed outdoors. The economy is open. It is difficult to get a reservation at many restaurants. The students are back to school full time. Live theater and sports are back.
There are always restrictions and rules in place, such as masks in enclosed spaces and capacity limits for any indoor and outdoor space. A vaccination certificate or “green pass” – showing that a person is inoculated or can prove that they have antibodies to the coronavirus from a previous infection – is required for most social activities in the hall or hospital. large-scale events. And the country is still mostly closed to outside visitors – even first-degree relatives of Israeli residents must be given special permission to enter, although the government has announced that groups of vaccinated tourists will be allowed to visit the country after the May 23.
But for Israelis, there is a feeling that their country is one of the first to experience what life can be like on the other side of the pandemic.
“I am happy to say that we are indeed making progress [into] our post-Covid days, “Weiss said, adding that by June, organizers expect to return to normal capacity events in large stadiums.” The local shows are doing very well … It’s happening, it’s a big party. “
It’s not that most Israelis think the coronavirus is completely over. Even though masks are not needed outdoors, many people can still be seen wearing them on the street.
While shopping for clothes near Jerusalem’s central market, Dror Langer said he was not sure Israel was past the pandemic.
“People are still scared, I’m wearing a mask, I can see other people are wearing a mask, but we hope it’s all over,” Langer told CNN. “We have the feeling that everything is finished, everything is open, people are happy, go to hotels, go on weekends, every restaurant, every hotel is full.”
Sitting outside in a restaurant in Jerusalem, Michal Ahmbadi cradled her newborn baby while finally enjoying a tasting of dishes she and her husband had booked before the pandemic.
“There is still a feeling of coronavirus, like needing a mask in some place indoors. But there really is a feeling that we are back to normal,” she said. “I am less worried (about the arrival of new mutations), but in my opinion, it must be done gradually, all the problems related to the reopening of the sky and the return of tourists from abroad, it must be totally progressive. “
According to the Israeli Ministry of Health, a large majority of people eligible for the vaccine have received at least one dose – every age group from 20 years of age is vaccinated at least 75% with a single vaccine – although it does. hundreds of thousands still remain to be inoculated. But one of the country’s top coronavirus experts, Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science, said he believed the vaccines had nearly wiped out Covid-19 from Israel.
“[H]Immunity is not binary, but I think we have reached a high level of immunity, so epidemics are now highly unlikely (unless a variant that bypasses vaccines arrives) ”, a Segal told CNN.
According to Segal’s calculations, since Israel’s last peak of infection in mid-January, there are 98% fewer cases and 87% fewer deaths. About 85% of the population over the age of 16 has been previously vaccinated or has some form of immunity from a previous infection, according to its data.
“Life is near pre-covid,” he tweeted last week.
The economic situation reflects this optimism. According to the Bank of Israel, the Israeli economy “is recovering at a rapid pace” and the monthly unemployment rate for March fell below 10%, from 14% in February.
For Israelis like Langer, happiness at the improving situation is tempered by continued concern that more vaccines will be needed or that further restrictive measures will return.
“Who knows what’s going to happen,” he said. “But life is too short and we have to live.”