Story at a glance
- Israel has vaccinated 61.7 percent of its 9.3 million citizens.
- Following the mass vaccinations there was a 98 percent drop in cases in the country.
- In response to the promising numbers, the government has relaxed mask mandates and reopened schools and universities.
One country has almost entirely wiped out COVID-19, and it isn’t the United States.
According to a new study, Israel, which has the most expansive vaccination program and rates in the world, has “pretty much eradicated COVID-19 [...] at least for the time being,” according to a tweet from the study’s co-author, Eran Segal.
The paper, published Monday in the journal Nature, found that the mass vaccinations decimated case numbers and deaths. Compared to Israel’s peak in January, the scientists found that following the mass vaccinations there was a 98 percent drop in cases, 93 percent fewer critically ill patients, and 87 percent fewer deaths.
Israel has vaccinated 61.7 percent of its 9.3 million citizens.
The promising numbers have resulted in the government relaxing mask mandates and reopening schools and universities.
However, experts are still cautious. Territories in the West Bank and Gaza have seen a much slower vaccination rollout, and the rise in new variants of the coronavirus have prompted questions about how long vaccinations will be effective for and against what variants.
Moderna announced this month that it is working on a booster shot to better protect against coronavirus variants that should be available in late 2021, and Pfizer said a booster shot is likely to be needed within 12 months.
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