The global lockdown approach adopted by almost every government in the world might not be the right, or the only solution, based on Coronavirus infection data collected and analysed by Professor Isaac Ben-Israel. After all, South Korea, Taiwan and Sweden didn’t lock down and they did not appear to be doing any worse than Italy or the U.S.
According to the Israeli professor, the Covid-19 virus will run its full course after 70 days. He said his team had analyzed global Coronavirus statistics and discovered an astonishing result – Coronavirus outbreak peaks after about 40 days, and thereafter declines to almost zero after 70 days. In short, the pathogen, which has left a trail of destruction globally, has a lifespan of only 70 days.
Ben-Israel – a mathematician, analyst and former general – said – “Our analysis shows that this is a constant pattern across countries. Surprisingly, this pattern is common in countries that have taken a severe lockdown, including the paralysis of the economy, as well as to countries that implemented a far more lenient policy and have continued in ordinary life,”
“This is how it is all over the world. In both countries where they have taken closure steps, like Italy, and in countries that have not had closures, like Taiwan or Singapore. In such countries, there is an increase until the fourth to sixth week, and immediately thereafter, moderation until during the eighth week, it disappears,” – said the professor (Singapore has actually locked down the country).
His study, first published on April 16, 2020, says that no matter where it strikes, and no matter what measures governments impose to try to thwart it, the spread of Covid-19 will be gone naturally after 70 days. With regards to Israel, he said – “It turns out that the peak of the spread is already behind us for about a week, and it will probably be almost completely wasted within two weeks.”
But who is this Israeli professor? While Isaac Ben-Israel is not a medical doctor, his credentials are incredibly impressive. He is the head of the Security Studies program at Tel Aviv University and the chairman of the Israeli Space Agency and the National Council for Research and Development. He possesses a PhD in Philosophy and a BSc in Physics and Mathematics from Tel Aviv University.
Isaac Ben-Israel joined the Tel Aviv University as a professor and was the head of the Curiel Center for International Studies (2002-04), the head of the Program for Security Studies (2004-07), Executive Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Technological Analysis & Forecasting at Tel-Aviv University and a member of the Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies.
Born in 1949, Isaac Ben-Israel joined the Israeli Air Force after graduating from high school and had been there until his retirement in 2002. He headed the Air Force’s Operations Research Branch, Analysis and Assessment Division and then was Director, Ministry of Defense for Research and Development.
Subsequently, he rose to the rank of Major General and was twice awarded Israel Defense Prize, also known as the Israel’s Defense Award, an award presented annually by the President of Israel to people and organizations who made significant contributions to the defense of the State of Israel.
However, while Isaac Ben-Israel has the data and statistics to prove his claims, which he credited his colleagues Prof. Ziegler and Ronnie Yefarah, the professor admitted that he does not know why the Coronavirus behaves in such a way. His theory as to why the virus could only live up to 70 days – it could be due to climate, or even that the virus has a life span of its own.
He argued that if indeed the virus spreads exponentially forever, Israel would have experienced double the amount of patients every few days. Even though he supports social distancing, the professor thinks the panic shutting down of global economies was a mistake. He suggested that the lockdown policy can be scrapped after a few days and replaced by a policy of moderate social distancing.
Does that explain why Wuhan, China, had managed to emerge victorious after 76 days of lockdown? Was it a coincidence that the dramatic drop in new cases in China was largely due to the virus’ lifespan of 70 days, and the lockdown only plays a minor part in reducing its spread? An estimated 56 million people in Hubei province were put under quarantine during the outbreak.
According to Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, a common and predictable pattern happens in all the countries, regardless of their response policies – a sudden rapid increase in infections that reaches a peak (called the exponential phase) in the 6th week and declines from the 8th week. A complete lockdown reduces the spread of the virus, but it was not the primary reason why the rate of infection declines.
In the case of Italy, which experienced a very high death toll despite a lockdown, Ben-Israel explained that the Italian health service was already overwhelmed. He said – “It collapsed in 2017 because of the flu.” The mathematician acknowledged, however, that there were limitations in data in the case of Iran and China, countries that do not transparently share information.
But Dr. Gabi Barbash, former director-general of Israel’s Health Ministry and former head of Tel Aviv’s largest hospital, has condemned Ben-Israel’s theory. He told Channel 12 Israel – “I strongly urge that we not let mathematicians – who know nothing about biology – determine when we lift the shutdown.” He insisted that “we’re going to be living with the Coronavirus for the next year.”
Like other countries, Israel’s economy has been affected severely by weeks of national lockdown, so much so that the country’s unemployment has skyrocketed to over 25% (from 4%) in April. A number of “exit strategy” plans have been drafted, including one that is based on dividing the population into high-risk and low-risk groups and thereafter put the former in “quarantine”.
Israel has over 14,000 Coronavirus cases and 191 deaths since the first patient was discovered on February 10. The subject of lifting the lockdown has seen heated battle between the Israeli Health Ministry and Finance Ministry. While the finance ministry believes most people in low-risk categories can return safely to work, the health ministry disagrees, saying that the pandemic is still not over yet.