We are rapidly approaching the third pandemic year. The US crossed 800,000 deaths recently, though some experts feel that number is less than the actual figure. That is because of potential underreporting in certain states.
Some states seemed to be doing better fighting the virus than others, with higher vaccinated rates, continued mask-wearing, social distancing, etc. However, now that we’re a few weeks past Thanksgiving, the reported coronavirus-positive numbers are swelling, and very few states seem to be exempt. New Jersey, for example, is seeing rapidly mounting cases as we head into the new year.
We’ll talk about why that’s happening right now.
Why is New Jersey Seeing Swelling Numbers?
Like so many other states and territories, there are probably several reasons why Covid-19 is hitting New Jersey hard right now. People tend to become complacent if they live with something for a very long time. It’s easy to start forgetting to wear a mask if it’s not mandated and you’ve received the vaccine and a booster shot.
Most workplaces are allowing in-person work again, and that plays a part as well. Some jobs still enable employees to work from home, such as those in the IT sector. An IT worker might deal with a problematic client from time to time, but at least they don’t have to worry about the coronavirus when they’re sitting in their study or living room.
Other New Jersey residents might have risked Covid-19 exposure going to a live sporting event or concert. Being stuck in the house for a lot of the past two years has made some people feel like they’re willing to take that risk. When they do that, they open themselves up to this highly transmittable virus.
Holiday gatherings are one more factor. Thanksgiving saw many individuals get together with their families throughout New Jersey. Larger gatherings like these can easily turn into super-spreader events, and Christmas is another time when families tend to congregate. That’s not likely to help matters.
The Omicron Variant
The Omicron Covid-19 variant is what doctors and scientists are warning US citizens about right now, not just in New Jersey but elsewhere across the country. Nowhere, seemingly, is immune to this new version, and this one spreads even more easily than the Delta variant, which emerged a few months ago.
Experts feel that the virus is going to continue mutating. The reason for this is that while many people received the vaccine, some have not, and nothing seems like it is going to change their minds.
The latest stats show that nearly 70% of New Jersey residents are fully vaccinated. That’s better than some states, but those unwilling to get the shot are more likely to develop symptoms if exposed to Covid-19. That can lead to hospitalization and death in some instances.
The Overworked Healthcare System
Like so many other states, New Jersey healthcare workers express continued frustration with those unwilling to get the vaccine, but others simply feel worn down. They must often work longer hours than usual because there are so many patients and not enough resources.
A testing surge is also a contributing factor. It might be that it’s not simply a matter of more cases in New Jersey, but also more testing revealing positive cases, even with asymptomatic individuals.
What Can You Do About It?
If you live in New Jersey, your best chance to avoid catching Covid-19 is the same as in any other state. Get the vaccine, get a booster shot if enough time has elapsed since your first inoculation, and keep social distancing and wearing a mask when you go out in public. Taking all of those actions is tiring, but it’s what the circumstances demand.
As for doing things like attending concerts or sporting events, getting together for the holidays, or doing in-person work, everyone has to decide how much exposure they’re willing to endure. Garden State residents in an immunocompromised condition are the ones who need to be the most careful. Elderly individuals and those with various underlying conditions are also in higher-risk groups.
The ongoing pandemic exhausts everyone, as does the way it’s stubbornly sticking around. New variants seem unavoidable, though, and this lingering virus continues to change the way everyone works, congregates, celebrates the holidays, etc.
Experts have the same message for New Jersey that they do the rest of the country as Covid-19 cases rise: follow the CDC guidelines and settle in for another pandemic winter.