State officials warned that the Delta variant of the coronavirus will be the driving force of new cases in New Jersey in the coming months.
“For those who have yet to be vaccinated or fully vaccinated, there’s reason to be concerned about the increase in the highly transmissible variant…known as the Delta variant,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli at a press briefing June 21 of the variant first seen in India.
“COVID-19 is now largely a disease of the unvaccinated. If you are not vaccinated, you are at risk for getting infected, particularly with one of the variants of the virus that spreads more rapidly and results in more serious disease,” statedPersichilli.
Persichilli cited former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in noting the Delta variant is between 40% and 60% more transmissible and could become the dominant strain in the U.S. sometime next month. While this variant has increased in New Jersey recently, it is currently a minority of the variants that state officials are seeing—about 7.3% of the variants that have been sequenced in the last four weeks.
Detected in at last 66 countries, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently upgraded the coronavirus mutation to a variant of concern. The federal agency estimates that it may be responsible for nearly 10% of all new COVID-19 infections in the United States—and 20% in some Western states.
The health commissioner said state officials are monitoring the impact the Delta variant is having in the UK as a way to combat it in the Garden State.
Watching the UK
“We do expect to see it increase in our state; however, the vaccines authorized for use in the United States have been reported to be effective against the Delta variant as well as other variants,” saidPersichilli.
In one recent study, researchers in the UK found that a two-dose regimen of the Pfizer vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant.
Department of Health Medical Director Dr. Edward Lifshitz said COVID-19 vaccines overall are “extremely effective…(they) are looking to be very effective against these variants as well.”
Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccine
“As Dr. Fauci says, if you are vaccinated, you’re going to be protected, which is another very good reason to encourage people strongly to get vaccinated,” added Persichilli. “While we are not seeing any significant impact from the Delta variant at this time (as) there is a lag between a few weeks of analysis and reporting of the variants. We’re being vigilant every day to review that information.”
Gov. Phil Murphy reiterated the new cases being encountered now are “almost entirely driven by the unvaccinated among us. There’s a direct correlation between our increasing vaccination numbers and our decreasing infection and hospitalization numbers. I cannot put it anymore directly.”
“With the emergence of the more transmittable variants, the time to get vaccinated is now. We cannot risk any COVID brush fires in any communities where vaccinations lag.”
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 9,492,061 in-state, plus an additional 565,742 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 10,057,803 as of June 22. Of those who have received the vaccine, 4,583,585 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 248,347 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 4,831,932.
Demographically, 54% of those vaccinated are women and 46% men. As for ethnicity, 51% are White, 15% Hispanic, 11% Asian, 7% Black, 9% other and 8% unknown. In regards to the age of those having received the vaccine, 25% are 65 years old or olders, 27% 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 1,047,369 doses (508,663 fully vaccinated), Essex 791,492 doses (378,535), Hudson 688,660 doses (323,907), Morris 608,243 doses (294,359), Passaic 488,914 doses (233,415), Sussex 142,281 doses (69,635), and Warren 91,883 doses (44,855).
As of June 22, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 891,644 with 182 total new PCR cases reported. There were 83 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 129,910. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,021,554.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 15 new deaths, bringing that total to 23,702. The state listed probable deaths at 2,690, bringing the overall total to 26,392. State officials noted three deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that has not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on June 22, Bergen had a total of 25 new confirmed cases and seven new probable case, Essex 24 new cases and two new probable cases, Hudson six new cases and one new probable case, Morris 11 new cases and three new probable cases, Passaic 13 new cases and eight new probable cases, Sussex three new cases and two new probable cases, and Warren had one new case and one new probable case.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,713, followed by Bergen at 2,582, Hudson with 2,085, Passaic at 1,733, Morris at 978, Sussex at 239, and Warren County at 211.
In regards to probable deaths reported June 16, 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 22, it remained unchanged from the day before at 0.99. The daily rate of infections from those tested June 17, was 1.0%; by region, the rate was 0.9% in the North, 1.0% in the Central region and 0.9% in the South.
Officials reported 302 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 130 in the North, 85 in the Central and 87 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 55 are in intensive care units and 32 on ventilators. A total of 27 patients were discharged.
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 90,045, followed by Middlesex at 85,061, Essex at 84,862, Hudson at 79,010, Monmouth at 67,725, Ocean at 65,889, Passaic at 65,858, Union at 60,580, Camden at 49,106, Morris at 41,997, Burlington at 38,341, Mercer at 31,719, Gloucester at 26,617, Atlantic at 24,975, Somerset at 24,357, Cumberland at 14,911, Sussex at 11,748, Warren at 8,982, Hunterdon at 8,954, Salem at 5,550, and Cape May at 4,641.
In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 14,706, followed by Union at 11,090, Ocean at 10,371, Essex at 9,573, Hudson at 9,306, Morris at 8,310, Monmouth at 8,114, Middlesex at 7,530, Passaic at 7,437, Camden at 6,737, Atlantic at 6,651, Burlington at 5,994, Somerset at 5,814, Cape May at 4,613, Gloucester at 4,040, Mercer at 2,431, Sussex at 2,340, Cumberland at 2,286, Warren at 1,032, Hunterdon at 902, and Salem 536.
Another 716 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 35 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 959 of the cases, broken down between 308 residents and 651 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,478 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,779 residents and 22,218 staff, for a total of 54,997.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,060 on June 22. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,877 residents deaths and 144 staff deaths.