The Perfect Enemy | N.J. reports 19 COVID deaths, 2,828 cases. Novavax vaccine closer to approval.
July 5, 2022

N.J. reports 19 COVID deaths, 2,828 cases. Novavax vaccine closer to approval.

N.J. reports 19 COVID deaths, 2,828 cases. Novavax vaccine closer to approval.  NJ.comView Full Coverage on Google News

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New Jersey on Wednesday reported 19 new COVID-19 deaths and 2,828 confirmed positive tests as advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended approving the Novavax covid vaccine as a potential fourth option.

The FDA must decide whether to authorize the protein vaccine made by latecomer Novavax as the nation’s fourth coronavirus shot for adults. It’s made with more conventional technology than today’s dominant Pfizer and Moderna shots and the lesser-used Johnson & Johnson option.

New Jersey’s seven-day average for confirmed cases was 2,941 on Wednesday, down 9% from a week ago, but still up 9% from a month ago.

The positivity rate for tests conducted on Friday, the most recent day with available data, was 11.12%. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers positivity rates above 10% to be “high.”

The statewide rate of transmission for Wednesday was 0.88. A transmission rate below 1 is an indication that the outbreak is declining as each new case is leading to less than one additional new case.

There were 903 patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases reported across 70 of the state’s 71 hospitals as of Tuesday night. One hospital did not report data. Hospitalizations still remain significantly lower than when they peaked at 6,089 on Jan. 10 during the omicron wave.

Of those hospitalized, 110 were in intensive care and 35 were on ventilators. There were at least 146 people discharged in the 24-hour period ending Tuesday, according to state data.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now lists 13 New Jersey counties with “high” transmission rates — Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Salem, Sussex and Warren.

Those in high-risk areas are recommended to wear a mask indoors in public and on public transportation and stay up-to-date on vaccinations, according to the CDC.

Eight counties are in the medium risk category: Bergen, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic, Somerset and Union. Masks are not recommended in the medium and low regions.

TOTAL NUMBERS

New Jersey has reported 2,078,712 total confirmed COVID-19 cases out of more than 17.8 million PCR tests conducted in the more than two years since the state reported its first known case March 4, 2020.

The Garden State has also recorded about 345,894 positive antigen or rapid tests, which are considered probable cases. And there are numerous cases that have likely never been counted, including at-home positive tests that are not included in the state’s numbers.

The state of 9.2 million residents has reported 33,811 COVID-19 deaths — 30,735 confirmed fatalities and 3,076 probable ones.

New Jersey has the eighth-most coronavirus deaths per capita in the U.S. — behind Mississippi, Arizona, Oklahoma, Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas — as of the latest data reported Wednesday. Last summer, the state had the most deaths per capita in the country.

The latest numbers follow a major study that revealed even a mild case of COVID-19 can significantly affect the brain. Long COVID — the term commonly used to describe symptoms stemming from the virus long after a person no longer tests positive — has been found to affect between 10% and 30% of those who contract the infection, regardless of whether they have a mild or serious case.

In New Jersey, that would mean that roughly 600,000 of the more than 2 million who have tested positive for COVID since the onset of the pandemic either have or have had long COVID.

VACCINATION NUMBERS

More than 6.91 million of the 8.46 million eligible people who live, work or study in New Jersey have received the initial course of vaccinations and more than 7.8 million have received a first dose since vaccinations began here on Dec. 15, 2020.

More than 3.88 million people in the state eligible for boosters have received one. That number may rise after the FDA approved booster shots for healthy children between the ages of 5 and 11. U.S. regulators authorized the booster for kids hoping an extra vaccine dose will enhance their protection as infections continue to spread.

SCHOOL AND LONG-TERM CARE NUMBERS

For the week ending May 29, with 53.9% of schools reporting data, another 7,409 COVID-19 cases were reported among staff (2,046) and students (5,363) across New Jersey’s schools.

Since the start of the academic year, there have been 140,385 students and 42,433 school staff members who have contracted COVID-19 in New Jersey, though the state has never had more than two-thirds of the school districts reporting data in any week.

The state provides total student and staff cases separately from those deemed to be in-school transmission, which is narrowly defined as three or more cases linked through contact tracing.

New Jersey has reported 957 total in-school outbreaks, including 6,916 cases among students and staff. That includes 33 new outbreaks in the latest weekly report ending May 31. The state reported 48 in-school outbreaks the previous week.

At least 9,142 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to state data.

There were active outbreaks at 373 facilities, resulting in 4,259 current cases among residents and 3,916 cases among staff, as of the latest data.

GLOBAL NUMBERS

As of Wednesday, there have been more than 533 million COVID-19 cases reported across the globe, according to Johns Hopkins University, and more than 6.3 million people died due to the virus.

The U.S. has reported the most cases (more than 85 million) and deaths (at least 1,009,339) of any nation.

There have been more than 11.66 billion vaccine doses administered globally.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Deion Johnson may be reached at djohnson@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @DeionRJohhnson