Israel Reports Record New Covid Cases as Booster Drive Expands

Israel, an early leader in Covid-19 inoculations, reported a record number of daily infections, giving fresh impetus to the vaccine booster drive the country began in early August. 

The country recorded 10,947 new cases on Monday, surpassing the previous high of 10,118 daily infections reached in January, according to health ministry figures.

Testing for the virus has been especially high in the past week as students prepared to return to school. The portion of positive tests reached about 7.7%, high for the current wave but only around half the rate at the end of last September. Serious cases have risen, but remain well below January levels. 

Israel began a booster drive for older people early this month and gradually expanded the campaign to include everyone aged 12 and over. Health officials have said that the effects of the initial shots weaken five months after inoculation, making boosters necessary. 

Nearly 6 million of the country’s 9.4 million-strong population have had at least one dose of vaccine, while more than 5.4 million have had two doses and some 2.1 million have had three.

While there have been breakthrough cases among the vaccinated, figures show the unvaccinated often suffer worse effects when infected. The rate of severe illness among non-vaccinated people aged 60 and over stood at 296.6 per 100,000 people, while among the fully vaccinated, it was 19.8.

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