Ben-Gurion University of the Negev data scientist Prof. Mark Last says a further lockdown is not necessary in Israel if current restrictions are maintained and there are no unusual spreading events.

Last’s prediction is based on his analysis of available data regarding confirmed Israeli Covid-19 cases and deaths.

“If we maintain the current restrictions, then my model predicts that we are at the end of this peak, which should tail off at the end of August or the beginning of September,” he said at the online AIME 2020: International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Medicine on August 26.

“Moreover, according to my calculations, we need 1.16 million people with antibodies in order to achieve herd immunity and we are very close to that number. Initial serological tests indicate the ratio of confirmed cases to actual cases is about 1 to 10. Using those numbers, we now have slightly above one million people with antibodies in Israel.”

Last said that unless some event such as the return to school causes another outbreak, the infection rate will start dropping.
“While another lockdown would certainly reduce infection rates, there is no need at the present time since social and physical distancing is working to lower infection rates,” he added.

Last directs BGU’s Data Science Research Center and is a member of the Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering. He has been analyzing health data for 20 years.

He said Israel’s coronavirus situation is comparable to Italy, Greece and Sweden.

Last has not analyzed data from the UK or North America. He told ISRAEL21c that such an analysis would have to be done on a state or city level in the United States. “It’s a big country so we can’t analyze the overall numbers there as we can in Israel,” he said.

In Israel, “our health system has managed to keep the percentage of deaths from Covid-19 to under 1% out of the total number of confirmed cases Other countries had rates as high as 16% (Italy) and 14% (Sweden) at the beginning of the epidemic and have recently pushed them to around 3%,” Last said.

“We are heading in the right direction, but it is important not to relax our restrictions or get overconfident,” he concluded.