Can Israel’s Plan For Opening Up Their Economy Work in Atlanta?

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Just deciding one day to “open for business” all at once without expecting there to be a rebound in coronavirus cases would be the same as playing slots at SlotoCash Casino and not expecting that the odds of losing are in favor of the house.  As the saying goes, “a fool and his money are soon parted”.

So let’s look at what Israel is doing?  Their population is larger than the Atlanta metropolitan area but not that much larger.  They’ve had a very centralized approach to this with the national government deciding policy, not leaving it up to individual cities as has created some tensions and misinformation in US cities. 

Over a month into the situation, they are beginning to open up the economy.  And then what?  You may be surprised, but they are expecting there to be an increase in coronavirus cases.  In fact, they actually want that to happen. But they want it to happen in a controlled way that will not overwhelm their healthcare system.  Just look at NYC and you will understand what I am talking about.

This is called herd immunity, and since there is currently no vaccine, the only way to accomplish herd immunity is through the way that God intended, one person exposing another person to a virus.  But since this virus moves so quickly and for people at risk, it can be dangerous and even deadly, just “letting nature take its course” is not the course of action.

So Israel implementing a multi-step plan with the goal of creating herd immunity while at the same time starting to get the economy up and running.

This is their plan.

April 7, 2020 (evening ) until April 11, 2020 (evening)

The government did a massive shutdown of almost the whole country, including shutting down public transportation and blocking people from going from one city to another city even by car.  Wednesday morning and Friday morning they had a break where grocery stores were opened for people to get essential items.

The intention was to do one final push to get rid of the virus in a majority of the country.

April 11, 2020 (in the evening)

Any Israeli who is arriving from abroad is required to spend 2 weeks in a quarantine hotel.

The government announced its plan with the first group of people returning to activities on April 19, 2020.  Places that still showed high numbers even after this one last push, were put on their own timelines.

The Tel Aviv suburb of Beer Sheva and parts of the city of Jerusalem were put on their own schedule.

School Plan starting on April 19, 2020

The school will partially resume from April 19.  

Special needs schools and classes will be the first to return, due to their smaller class sizes of 15 or fewer students per class.

Kindergartens (3 years old – 6-year-olds) will be next.  They will operate three to four days a week.

Fourth to six grades will continue with home learning for at least another week.

Seventh and eighth graders will study in shifts with classes split into two classes.

Ninth grade class will be split into morning and afternoon shifts.

No plan for high school students has been mentioned yet as the plan is to enable parents to work.

Teachers in high-risk groups will not return to work.

The plan also includes canceling summer vacation.  Since the students are only going to be going to school half of the time, the students are going to essentially lose their summer vacation.

The school year normally ends on June 30 in Israel.  So if there are two full months left in the school year with the kids only going to school half of that time per week, extending the school year through the whole summer will put the kids back on schedule by September.

Business Plan

As with the schools, the plan is set to begin starting April 19, 2020.  This gives companies a week to get things ready for people to return to work.  In Israel, every employee has to take their temperature at the beginning of the day, and they are not allowed at work if they have a temperature.

Hi-Tech industry and finance industry will be the first to return to work.  This is due to the fact that these industries have less direct interaction with their customers.

Businesses are divided into three separate categories.

Green” category businesses are those businesses that provide necessary products despite the economic crisis.

Red” category businesses are those which even if they return to work are not in high demand at the moment, for example, tourism.

The rest of the businesses are classified as “yellow” businesses.

The Finance Ministry is looking into opening restaurants and the other “yellow” businesses to open in a different fashion, but the details are still being worked out.

The government’s first concern was creating a plan to get the kids back to school.

What is Israel’s general philosophy?

Anywho who came from abroad should be defined as a patient even without a test.

Anyone who was in contact with a known patient should be considered a patient.

If a member of a household is sick with coronavirus, consider the whole household to be sick with coronavirus and enter isolation.

Create two maps.  One is green where there is no disease.  The second one is red for areas with coronavirus or has the potential to become red areas.

In this model, the country enforces closures on cities or neighborhoods where the disease is more widely spread while maintaining safe but open procedures in other localities.  That includes wearing masks and safe social distancing standards.

Summary

Israel is taking a step by step approach to opening its economy. Israel is trying to balance creating a herd immunity; while not overwhelming their healthcare system; while at the same time trying to get the economy up and running, at least at a partial level; while looking forward to the economy essentially returning to normal by September. 

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