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Will God rescue Israel from the fourth COVID-19 wave?

CM 04/08/2021 7


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Faith could be one of the keys to helping Israel successfully ride the fourth COVID-19 wave, if success against the Delta variant is judged by the number of people who die from the virus.
According to a new study conducted by Prof. Uzi Rebhum of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, any 1% increase in the number of residents with a strong religious identity is expected to reduce mortality rates by about a third.
Rebhum, whose study was published in the British journal Migration Letters, examined population characteristics and environmental factors to determine which contribute most to a country’s ability to effectively deal with the pandemic.
He used a statistical model to compare these factors among the 36 member states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and then against morbidity and mortality data during the first 100 days after the first verified case was discovered in China.

“The statistical method allowed me to reveal what are the best factors that can predict each of these outcomes: timing of the outbreak, morbidity data and mortality data,” Rebhum told The Jerusalem Post.
Israel was ranked first among OECD countries for managing COVID then, making it a role model for other countries around the world. Rebhum said that although this research was conducted during the first wave, “I interpret and draw conclusions for the current COVID wave.
Looking at the first wave data that Rebhum presents, at the end of the first 100 days, there were for example 109 patients per 100,000 inhabitants in Israel, 258 in Switzerland and 539 in Iceland. While in Norway the death toll at the time was one in every thousand patients, in Israel it was seven and in France it was 133.
The more religious a country was – judged by the percentage of the population that goes to pray at least once per week – the lower its mortality rate was during the first 100 days of the pandemic, Rebhum said.
“The explanation for this would be that people who have strong religious faith have more social and moral support from their community and religious leaders,” he explained. Additionally, “they tend to be more optimistic and believe they can overcome their illness beyond the objective assessment of their doctor or other medical personnel.
“Putting their faith in God gives them more strength to encounter the illness and to struggle against the illness,” he continued. “It prolongs their lives – this is something we know from other studies on different kinds of illness and among different religious groups.” 
He said that the assumption is that Israelis’ faith has not changed since March 2020 and neither has the proportion of the population size of Israel’s religious community, “so I assume this will apply also for this wave.”
More than 40% of Israel’s Jewish population considers itself traditional or religious, according to a 2016 Pew Research Center study. Some 14% of the population is Muslim and 2% Christian, the majority of whom are faithful, according to Pew – 58% of Muslims and 55% of Christians favor the application of their own religious law to their communities.   
Of course, there are also other factors, Rebhum stressed – strongest among them what he calls a country’s “safety score” – measures it takes to battle the pandemic, such as isolation, lockdown, surveillance, testing, restrictions on tourism, quality of medical services and previous experiences with national emergencies.
He said high scores in these areas can reduce by about half the number of cases and, by a similar rate, the number of deaths.
“In the first wave, Israel was one of the leading countries in the world in tackling the pandemic,” Rebhum told the Post. “That’s because the first wave was encountered properly by the government, which was not the case in the second and third waves. For this fourth wave, Israel is well-prepared.”
The professor said this is not a political commentary, but one that looks at the facts on the ground: Israel has one of the highest percentages of vaccinated citizens; it is the first country in the world that decided on the booster shot for people over the age of 60; the government has already labeled many large countries red (banned) or orange and is expected to add more to the list next week; it imposed a quarantine on people who return from abroad – although many Israelis do not adhere to this regulation; and it already rolled out the Green Pass program, which is expected to expand next week.
“Israel is being very careful in encountering this fourth wave,” Rebhum contended.
While he cannot guarantee that mortality rates will be lower or higher this wave because each variant is different from the one before, “in terms of preparation, Israel is well-prepared to encounter the fourth wave of coronavirus and the country is taking the right steps,” he said. “I am optimistic.”

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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