ANALYSIS: Israel Beats the Odds, is Safest Corona Country

Israel is unique in its ability to pivot to meet any new challenge or threat

By Yochanan Visser | | Topics: Coronavirus
Israel beats the odds to become safest corona country.
Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90

A new investigation by the Deep Knowledge Group shows again that Israel remains the safest country on earth when it comes to the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

Israel tops the list of countries with a high safety ranking regarding the COVID-19 virus and also made it into the top ten countries with the best treatment efficiency.

The small country ranked ninth on the list of COVID-19 treatment efficiency, and did so with one of the smallest and most underfunded health systems of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Israel spends less on healthcare than comparable states in the OECD, a mere $2780 per citizen annually, whereas the United States, for example, spends more than $10,000 on healthcare for each citizen.

The OECD average is $4,000 per citizen annually.

Israel also faces a severe shortage of hospital beds with only three beds per 1,000 citizens, whereas Japan, for example, has 13 beds per 1,000 citizens available. Russia and Germany have eight hospital beds per 1,000 citizens, and even Poland has seven hospital beds per 1,000.

“Deep Knowledge Group’s COVID-19 Safety, Treatment Efficiency and Risk Ranking Analytical Frameworks utilize raw data from a number of publicly-available sources including the World Health Organization, John Hopkins University, CDC, Worldometers and others,” the organization said in its latest report.

The Group also holds “consultations with specific experts, and feeds this data into its proprietary Big Data Analytical Frameworks in order to derive a cumulative rank of countries in terms of safety, therapy efficiency and risk.”

Israel scored best in the field of rapid emergency mobilization and worst in the quantity of hospital beds.

Pundits have already pointed out that Israel’s critical experience with emergencies is helping to get the population through the Corona crisis without the numbers of deaths we see in other modern societies such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and the United States.

Hospital staffs in Israel are used to working under enormous pressure and are often highly educated. In addition, the fact that Israel was one of the first countries to halt international flights and enforced a lockdown helped to contain the Corona outbreak and we see now a reduction in new cases.

At press time, 110 Israelis had died of the COVID-19 virus and the Jewish State has now more than 11,000 confirmed infected COVID-19 virus cases. This means that less than one percent of Corona patients in Israel died of the virus and this is currently the third lowest death rate in the world.

Other factors than a qualitatively high health system helped Israel in obtaining the number one position in terms of safety in the Corona crisis.

First of all, the country is a start-up nation with many Israelis working in the field of hi-tech, and these people are used to thinking out-of-the-box. It comes therefore as no surprise that Israeli hospitals have now introduced a new treatment for the coronavirus.

Six critically ill COVID-19 patients in Israel were treated with the placenta-based cell-therapy product of the Haifa-based Israeli firm Pluristem and are now recovering after being listed in critical condition.

All patients experienced organ failure and other acute problems such as complications stemming from inflammation and acute respiratory failure.

Another huge achievement came from scientists of the Hebrew University who developed in record time a new,much cheaper and faster COVID-19 test kit.

“The new test would supply results 4-10 times faster than the current method, and is made almost entirely from materials which are easily available for purchase within the country,” Israeli journalist Idan Zonshine reported.

Secondly, Israel not only enlisted the health system in its efforts to beat the coronavirus, but also used its army to overcome the crisis.

IDF soldiers were sent to Bnei Barak where they cared for the ultra-Orthodox population that had ignored the government health instructions.

Some of the IDF’s more talented retired officers even returned to service to oversee operations in three ultra-Orthodox towns with a high number of infections.

Former NORTHCOM commander Gal Hirsh, for example, the man who was sandbagged by the Israeli Defense and political establishments before and during the Second Lebanon War for his out-of-the-box approach in the preparations for war against Hezbollah, took command over the effort to quarantine the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad in Samaria.

Israel even used its spy agency Mossad to bring medical equipment and protective gear to Israel, something that would be unthinkable in other countries.

Mossad representatives set up a command center at Sheba Hospital in Ramat Gan, the world’s ninth-best hospital, together with their counterparts from the Health Ministry and the Ministry of Defense.

The Mossad’s ethos of executing a task at any price surely helped Israel in obtaining the necessary gear and respirators.

Agents of the Mossad initially brought 100,000 coronavirus testing kits to Israel, and this was followed by other shipments with more testing kits, 1.5 million surgical masks, tens of thousands of N-95 masks, protective overalls, protective goggles and a wide range of medications.

The Mossad, furthermore, succeeded in obtaining the technology to produce respirators and Corona test kits, after which Israel Aerospace Industries started to build the ventilators.

This now is another aspect that is rather unique for Israel.

In times of crisis the best minds of the State of Israel often change the focus of their work and use their out-of-the-box thinking and creativity to produce whatever is necessary to help their country.

It also happened with the terror tunnel problem and the incendiary balloons in the Gaza belt, when Israeli scientists gathered to tackle the problem together with the security brass.

This flexibility in the way people in Israel react to each crisis has a lot to do with the fact that Israel has had many of them, including wars.

Israelis already knew a long time before Corona came to the Jewish state that sometimes a person has “to adopt a different lifestyle” like Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu put it at the outset of the crisis, and this is exactly what happened.


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