COVID19 update, July 29, 2020: Second wave in Europe; eyeing a new Roaring Twenties post-pandemic; Israeli ‘coronavirus czar’ unveils new plan of action

(1) In this video, Dr. Campbell is being interviewed by a reporter from the Deutsche Welle’s English-language service.

(2) In the Daily Telegraph, this piece [UPDATE: archive copy without paywall] looks at the aftermath of the 1918 “Spanish Flu” pandemic and the roaring economic surge that followed it — and predicts the same will happen now, even if the COVID19 epidemic is both much less deadly and economically more disruptive.

(3) Prof. Roni Gamzu, Israel’s new COVID czar, unveiled his “Shield of Israel” strategic plan

The Shield of Israel plan has three main arms: 1) a new contract will be established between the public and those managing the coronavirus crisis; 2) the IDF will take over the management of testing and contact tracing; 3) data will be consolidated and presented in a unified manner.

[…] With regards to “test, trace, isolate,” the methodology that experts believe is key to stopping the spread of the pandemic, Gamzu admitted that until now the Health Ministry has not done a sufficient job. As such, “the IDF will deal with this,” he said.

“The IDF’s involvement is very important because it is a system that can work quickly,” Gamzu said. […] Earlier in the day, Gamzu met with the heads of local authorities and shared more about his plan, including that testing will be increased to 60,000 people per day within the next two months and ultimately up to 100,000 by winter. He said he wants to manage cities according to their rates of infection, designating them red, orange or green.

The Health Ministry clung for dear life unto the responsibility for testing and tracing, but their practically implementation is at this point a logistical problem first and foremost. It makes sense that a logistical problem is handled best by experts in logistics — be they from the army or from industry.

According to the COVID19 data dashboard of the Ministry of Health (just updated) we now have 34,521 active COVID19 cases. Just 747 of these (2.2%) are in hospital, including 148 (0.43%) in moderate condition and 328 (0.95%) in severe condition. (I presume the 271 hospital cases with mild COVID19 are mostly people actually hospitalized for other ailments.)
Total recovered cases are at 32,722. We seem to be reaching a plateau with about 2,000 new positive cases per day, and (with wild variations due to reporting quirks) about 500 new recoveries per day (which will obviously lag by 15-30 days).

(4) On a related note, tonight starts the Jewish fast day of Tisha be-Av — when we remember the destruction of the First and Second Temples and the many other calamities that befell the Jewish people and are associated with this date. The Israel Chief Rabbinate has ruled that people who test positive for COVID19 should not fast — whether or not they feel ill — and that public prayer services (on this day we read the Book of Lamentations) should be abridged for reasons of public health.

Let me end with former Chief Rabbi of the UK, Dr. Jonathan Sacks, and his special message for Tisha be-Av in the age of corona. This is a message for all humanity, not just for Jews.

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