Could the Israel and coronavirus saga be coming to a close, or, is it just getting started? After a major economic shutdown and a countrywide lockdown, the effects of COVID-19 are still ringing loudly through Israeli society and the physical, mental, emotional, and financial health of its universal audience. While the strict regulations have lifted and a re-opening plan was presented to ease back into “normalcy”, the infrastructure of the current system structures are being tested.
The Health Ministry declared a resuming of public transportation, yet has only opened the bus lines and not yet the railways. They require that buses only fill to half capacity to ensure social distancing regulations; however, with offices slowly opening and thousands of more people returning to work, bus stations are now massively overcrowded. Riders are waiting for hours to board a bus; stuck in close quarters despite the need to social distance. For the morning commutes, riders have needed to wait over an hour to board the bus, surrounded by others in the same boat.
However, at least those riders have offices to return to. In a hard hit to the Israel economy and its workers, what was the lowest employment rate pre corona times at 3.9% has skyrocketed to 27%, or 1.15 million people, in April alone. Employment Services also report that the population under the age of 34 was hit hardest in this case, as they make up about 48% of the unemployed. Those who were locked down with unpaid leave are also becoming redundant, and Israelis are scrambling to determine how they will continue to pay rent, utilities, and put food on the table.
In a dose of good news, parks and small gatherings are allowed, and what were silent streets have returned to life. Beaches and playgrounds remain closed, yet the Israeli skies are now open and Israeli residents can land back in Israel. Those who land won’t need to stay in a corona hotel, yet will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Overall, Israel spent over $1 million supporting Israelis from abroad to return home.
In promising news, the FDA has approved an Israeli medical trial to proceed with its studies to treat the COVID-19 virus. NeuroRX is an Israeli-American company that has been studying Aviptadil, a synthetic drug focusing to aid the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, which was a symptom causing about half of the COVID-19 deaths globally. The hormone treats how neurons impact the nervous system.
As the corona crisis continues to unfold in new ways, the invitation rests to understand the impact that every industry, every decision, and every person plays in our greater society.