In February 2021, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) North Texas Chapter held a virtual event titled “Medical Heroes Behind Covid-19,” an exclusive briefing with Head of Critical Care for Baylor University Medical Center, Dr. Ariel Modrykamien and Chief Innovation Officer of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Medical Corps, Dr. Lt. Col. Ariel Furer on the current status of Covid-19 in Israel and Texas.
The event touched on the current status of fighting the pandemic, new strains of the virus, and the ongoing challenges that must be confronted to be successful in saving lives in Texas and Israel respectively.
During the event, Dr. Lt. Col. Ariel Furer commended Rambam Hospital’s acceptance of his military unit, crediting his team’s ability to provide fantastic care. Furer shared that the Rambam staff conducts follow-up calls with patients following their hospital release. Rambam Hospital has been able to return to mostly routine, patient-centered care, according to Furer. While Israel is ahead of America in administering vaccines, there is still uncertainty surrounding what this will mean for future hospitalizations.
“It is difficult to say what exactly will happen with the ward as numbers of cases are still high in Israel,” said Dr. Lt. Col. Furer. “There has been an increase in younger patients admitted to the unit who typically need less time in the hospital. We hope that the large distribution of the vaccine helps. We are still trying to understand the effect of the vaccine on the number of severe cases,” he added.
At the event, Dr. Modrykamien shared that there are still many unknowns about the disease. Modrykamien also shared that 30% of patients his hospital has treated have needed ventilators.
After noting that there has been a significant decrease in the number of Covid-19 patients compared to several weeks ago, Dr. Modrykamien said, “We have found there is a mathematical correlation between the number of Covid-19 patients and big events and holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are now waiting for the Super Bowl effect, waiting to see what two weeks from now looks like,” he added.
Editor and Publisher of the Texas Jewish Post (TJP) Sharon Wisch-Ray led the event’s Q&A segment.
In response to a question about what precautions people should take after being vaccinated, Modrykamien reinforced, “We are still in a pandemic and are facing different variants of the virus. The majority of the US population is not yet vaccinated. Getting the vaccine will protect us from the regular variant and UK variant, we are hoping we will also be protected from other variants. Following vaccination, it is most likely you will not get severely ill. However, this does not mean you will not carry the virus.”
“As the director of the North Texas Chapter it is my goal to continue to provide programming that allows the Jewish communities of Texas and Israel to come together in unity to support our Jewish homeland,” said FIDF North Texas Director Kathi Ravkind Sebastian.
As part of its outreach, FIDF’s North Texas Chapter has partnered with local synagogues for several other local events.