Gov. Phil Murphy painted a picture that the coronavirus pandemic would not be according to a specific health metric or day on the calendar.
In a response to a question at a press briefing June 14, Murphy stated the pandemic will be over when residents are able to return to normalcy and not any specific benchmark of daily cases or deaths.
“I would measure it in a non-medical matter as the level of normalcy of our lives,” said Murphy. “I don’t think we measure it just because we have days of zero fatalities—even though we should celebrate those days—as we have already had days with zero fatalities between waves one and two.”
What Normalcy Look Like
The normalcy the governor forecasts includes students and teachers going back to school for in-person instruction five days a week without masks, state and private sector offices populated with workers, and the ability to resume activities indoors without a mask.
“I am not measuring it in the health metrics because I am of the opinion that when we beat this…it stays at some low level like the flu does,” commented Murphy. “That is my operating assumption—you are never completely out of the woods but you are back to normal.”
New Jersey Department of Health Medical Advisor Dr. Ed Lifshitz added “this is not going to be like a VE Day…where you can declare today that the war is over.”
Gradually Wind Down
“I think that is going to be a continued winding down of restrictions,” said Lifshitz, noting that New Jersey recently ended the public health emergency. “This is something that is going to be around for a long period of time and hopefully at low levels so we don’t have to talk about it.”
Lifshitz warned that vigilance is needed to make sure that an outbreak of the coronavirus does not pop back up, with getting vaccinated the key is making that a reality.
“I agree that we are on a very good path but I would not declare victory and say ‘Mission Accomplished’ at this point,” he said. “But we are certainly headed in the right direction.”
Reaching Vaccination Goal
Lifshitz said “the jury was still out” on whether a COVID-19 booster shot will be needed in the Fall.
The governor ended the press briefing by noting that “each day is better than the one that came before” and proclaimed confidence for the first time in public that the state would reach its fully vaccinated adult goal by June 30.
“I am no longer in doubt but I believe with great conviction that we will reach our goal of 4.7 million adult New Jersyans fully vaccinated by the end of this month,” said Murphy. “And I say with the same conviction that we will keep at it. That was our goal but that is not the endpoint. We will stay at this.”
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 9,192,638 in-state, plus an additional 357,974 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 9,550,612 as of June 14. Of those who have received the vaccine, 4,393,519 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 170,482 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 4,564,662.
Demographically, 54% of those vaccinated are women and 46% men. As for ethnicity, 51% are White, 14% Hispanic, 11% Asian, 7% Black, 9% other and 8% unknown. In regards to the age of those having received the vaccine, 26% are 65 years old or olders, 28% are between the ages of 50-64, 29% are between the ages of 30-49, and 18% are between the ages of 12-29.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 1,006,379 doses (483,778 fully vaccinated), Essex 762,350 doses (359,983), Hudson 660,000 doses (307,162), Morris 594,956 doses (285,605), Passaic 469,070 doses (221,386), Sussex 139,277 doses (67,089), and Warren 89,912 doses (43,516).
As of June 14, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 890,232 with 138 total new PCR cases reported. There were 122 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 129,562. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,019,794.
As for those that have passed, the state reported five new deaths, bringing that total to 23,649. The state listed probable deaths at 2,685, bringing the overall total to 26,334. State officials noted one death occurred in the last 24 hours that has not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on June 14, Bergen had a total of 10 new confirmed cases and 10 new probable case, Essex 14 new cases and 14 new probable cases, Hudson 17 new cases and 16 new probable cases, Morris five new cases and five new probable cases, Passaic 12 new cases and seven new probable case, Sussex one new case and one new probable case, and Warren had no new cases nor probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,707, followed by Bergen at 2,579, Hudson with 2,079, Passaic at 1,731, Morris at 976, Sussex at 237, and Warren County at 211.
In regards to probable deaths reported June 9, Essex has 300, Bergen has 299, Morris has 261, Hudson has 215, Passaic has 199, Sussex has 68 and Warren has 26.
As for the rate of transmission reported June 14, it remained unchanged from the day before at 0.90. The daily rate of infections from those tested June 10 was 1.0%; by region, the rate was 1.1% in the North, 1.0% in the Central region and 0.8% in the South.
Officials reported 361 patients were hospitalized; 295 cases were confirmed and 66 are under investigation. By region, there were 152 in the North, 97 in the Central and 111 in the South.
Of those hospitalized, 86 are in intensive care units and 54 on ventilators. A total of 43 patients were discharged, while 31 were admitted.
Officials have continually cited transmission rate, hospitalizations, intensive care units, ventilators 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.
Bergen Tops County Count
Bergen has the most confirmed cumulative cases in the state with 89,903, followed by Middlesex at 84,933, Essex at 84,740, Hudson at 78,899, Monmouth at 67,583, Ocean at 65,765, Passaic at 65,719, Union at 60,513, Camden at 49,040, Morris at 41,937, Burlington at 38,302, Mercer at 31,676, Gloucester at 26,575, Atlantic at 24,942, Somerset at 24,320, Cumberland at 14,885, Sussex at 11,717, Warren at 8,968, Hunterdon at 8,926, Salem at 5,548, and Cape May at 4,624.
In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 14,671, followed by Union at 11,074, Ocean at 10,286, Essex at 9,539, Hudson at 9,298, Morris at 8,300, Monmouth at 8,154, Middlesex at 7,506, Passaic at 7,410, Camden at 6,707, Atlantic at 6,642, Burlington at 5,976, Somerset at 5,798, Cape May at 4,596, Gloucester at 4,029, Mercer at 2,423, Sussex at 2,319, Cumberland at 2,272, Warren at 1,028, Hunterdon at 899, and Salem 540.
Another 717 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 65 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 1,751 of the cases, broken down between 656 residents and 1,095 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,474 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,777 residents and 22,228 staff, for a total of 55,005.
The state’s official death total, reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,058 on June 14. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,875 residents deaths and 144 staff deaths.