POLL: Garden State’s Confidence in Coronavirus Vaccine Declines, Want Masks, Restrictions to Remain

New Jerseyans seem less confident in the safety of a potential coronavirus vaccine following President Donald Trump’s promise that one would be available soon. Meanwhile, Garden State residents remain committed to wearing masks and maintaining restrictions in place to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

According to a survey conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), the number of people who were not at all confident that a vaccine would be adequately tested for safety rose seven percentage points since the same question was asked in June.

FDU found 35% of New Jersey residents reported a total lack of confidence. Democrats and independents were among those who were less confident in the vaccine, with women, non-whites, and those with high school education or less also among the skeptics.

Vaccine Numbers Dropping

A majority of New Jersey’s adults—55%—said they would probably or definitely get the vaccine when available, but this number dropped from 63% in June. Additionally, 39% said they would probably or definitely not get the vaccine; the number was 9 percentage points higher compared to the prior survey.

Krista Jenkins, director of the FDU poll and a professor of politics and government at the university, argued political concerns were playing a large role in people’s perception of the vaccine.

“While many New Jersey adults still believe in the benefits of a vaccine, work will need to be done to convince skeptics that any vaccine made available to the public will be safe and effective,” she said.

Masks A Priority

Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed believed mask wearing in public should be mandatory, unchanged from June. Only 21% said face coverings should be optional.

Additionally, despite the difficulty of closures and restrictions, two-thirds argued the hardships must be endured until a vaccine or treatment becomes readily available. These numbers, too, remained the same from June.

“It’s notable that despite the partisan nature of attitudes toward face coverings and closures that is often noted in the press, both have a fair amount of bipartisan support in New Jersey,” said Jenkins.

Residents are approving of the job schools have done in response to the pandemic. Two-thirds (68%) rate their local schools as having done a good job, with 29% who say they have done a very good job. Only 18% give their local schools a less than passing grade

Daily Data

As of Oct. 26, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 229,684 with 1,223 new cases reported and seven new deaths, bringing that total to 14,503. The state listed probable deaths at 1,789, bringing the overall total to 16,292.

For North Jersey counties on Oct. 26, Essex had a total of 133 new cases, Bergen 118 new cases, Passaic 110 new cases, Hudson 75 new cases, Morris 61 new cases, Warren 10 new cases and Sussex three new cases.

State officials noted 29 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.  

Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,911, followed by Bergen at 1,815, Hudson with 1,370, Passaic at 1,120, Morris at 690, Sussex at 161 and Warren with 158.

In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 242, Essex has 230, Hudson has 159, Morris at 144, Passaic at 141, Sussex has 36 and Warren has 13.

State Testing 

The daily rate of infections from those tested as of Oct. 22 was 4.5%. By region, the North has a rate of 5.1%, Central at 3.6% and the South at 4.4%. The state is no longer using serology tests as health officials explained those results show a past presence of the disease as well as a current one. 

As for the rate of transmission, it increased to 1.23 from 1.19 the day before. Officials have continually cited transmission rate and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.

Officials reported 948 patients are hospitalized, with 767 cases confirmed and 181 under investigation. Health officials said the conversion rate of those under investigation is about 20%. By region, there were 492 in the North, 235 in the Central and 221 in the South.

Of those hospitalized, 178 are in intensive care units and 75 on ventilators, while 64 patients were discharged.

Bergen Tops County Count

Bergen has the most cumulative cases in the state with 24,648, followed by Essex at 23,931, Hudson at 22,646, Middlesex at 21,783, Passaic at 20,554, Union at 19,682, Ocean at 16,534, Monmouth at 13,807, Camden at 11,336, Mercer at 9,174, Morris at 8,919, Burlington at 8,280, Somerset at 6,371, Gloucester at 5,435, Atlantic at 5,045, Cumberland at 3,978, Sussex at 1,681, Warren at 1,562, Hunterdon at 1,548, Salem at 1,160 and Cape May at 1,105.

Another 505 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 25 outbreaks involving 111 cases have been reported in nine of the 21 counties in the Garden State, up from 22 outbreaks involving 83 cases a week previous. For North Jersey, Bergen County has three confirmed outbreaks with nine cases, Passaic County has one confirmed outbreak with nine cases, Hudson County has one confirmed outbreak with four cases, and Sussex County has one confirmed outbreak with two cases. 

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 164 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 4,631 of the cases, broken down between 2,636 residents and 1,995 staff. 

Cumulatively, 793 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 25,547 residents and 14,008 staff, for a total of 39,555 cases. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,207 on Oct. 26. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,831 residents deaths and 121 staff deaths. 

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