Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The 80000 Protesters in Rabin Square and COVID-19

Letters to the Editor, Jerusalem Post, July 15, 2020

Thousands protest economic situation amid coronavirus crisis in Tel Aviv, July 11, 2020


The Jerusalem Post reported (July 12), “Some 80,000 protesters gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Saturday to voice their anger at the failed policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Israel Katz, who promised to help the nation’s economy during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Rabin Square is about 100 meters wide and 200 meters long, so its area is 20,000 square meters. Since there were 80,000 protesters, there were four people per square meter. That is obviously in violation of the two-meter social distancing guideline.

The 80,000 protesters could not wait a few days to see if the government’s NIS 80 billion rescue package will be delivered? They endangered all of us. COVID-19 is a serious disease and it won’t stop until 40% to 70% of the population gets infected and R effective gets below 1. But this can only happen when either herd immunity is reached or a vaccine becomes available. With no lockdown, an infectious person can move around, but since due to herd immunity there are so few susceptible people left that by the time he finds one he is not infectious anymore.

Since the vaccine won’t be available until the beginning of next year and we are still very far away from herd immunity, it is essential that the rate of new infections is controlled and that it does not explode like it did in the UK at the beginning of the pandemic.

Young people should understand that they are also vulnerable and that there are COVID-19 patients who have had the disease for more than four months. Breaking guidelines that are there to protect the health system from being overwhelmed is irresponsible and just stupid.