The third wave of the outbreak in New Jersey is predicted to reach its peak in mid-April

On Thursday (April 1), a total of 4,699 new cases of the Chinese Communist virus (COVID-19) and 30 deaths were reported in New Jersey. 7-day average of 4,153 new cases, a 26% increase from a week ago and a 45% increase from a month ago, announced the official arrival of the third wave of the outbreak.

Statewide hospitalizations for the CCP virus increased for the third consecutive day, with an overall increase of 28% over the past two weeks, including a 16% increase in intensive care patients, although ventilator use declined by 4%.

Predictive model: Outbreak peaks in mid-April

At Wednesday’s outbreak briefing, Governor Murphy said, “The epidemic is far from over.” State Health Secretary Judith Persichilli also confirmed, “We’re sure this is another wave of the virus.”

According to a forecast model released Wednesday, in a medium scenario, positive cases in New Jersey would peak on April 18, with 5,405 confirmed cases and 2,669 hospitalizations expected that day; in a very bad scenario, New Jersey might peak on May 18 with 8,162 confirmed cases and 3,644 hospitalizations.

State Health Commissioner Peschichli warned that if the forecast is accurate, New Jersey could be in for “a long, hard summer. Peschichli also stressed that the number of hospitalizations should not reach the level of the first wave last spring (when more than 8,300 patients were hospitalized), and that New Jersey now has enough medical supplies to fight the outbreak.

Governor Murphy said, “We all want to get back to our old lives, but we can’t do that right now, and we have to keep pushing for epidemic preparedness measures for a while longer.”

Millions vaccinated, but not stopping the outbreak from getting worse

As of Thursday, April 1, 39 percent of New Jersey’s adult population, or 2.81 million residents, had received at least one dose of the C.C.V. vaccine, while 23 percent of the adult population had been fully vaccinated, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. The state’s goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of eligible adults (about 4.7 million people) by the end of May.

But unlike expectations, vaccination has not stopped the spread of the virus and prevented the outbreak from getting worse. And the number of people infected with the virus after vaccination has never been disclosed, from federal to state governments. The vaccine is working,” said Dr. Adam Jarrett, executive vice president of medical affairs at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, adding that not a single vaccinated patient at Holy Name has shown serious symptoms after contracting the C.C. virus.

Variant virus spreading fast, people experiencing outbreak fatigue

Dr. Daniel Varga, chief medical officer at Hackensack Meridian Health, said New Jersey, like the rest of the United States, is in a “race between vaccines, virus variants and epidemic fatigue. “

State health officials also attribute the third wave of the outbreak to more contagious variants of the virus and epidemic fatigue. Many people have become bored and repelled by social distance and masks due to the prolonged epidemic.

Health officials do not know exactly how fast the variant viruses, which include strains from the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa, are spreading. Testing for variant viruses requires genome sequencing, which has been done in only a small percentage of cases.

Despite the limited number of tests, as of Monday, nearly 390 cases of the British variant of the virus had been found in New Jersey, and in fact there must be more.

State Health Commissioner Peschichli noted that the new wave of the outbreak is tilting toward younger people. New Jersey has seen a 31 percent increase in hospitalizations among 20- to 29-year-olds and a 48 percent increase among 40- to 49-year-olds. That may help explain why respirator use is down, Pechichli said, because younger people have relatively milder symptoms.

The current virus is more deadly for older residents, especially those with underlying conditions.

As of Thursday, New Jersey has reported 804,037 positive confirmed cases, in addition to 110,385 positive antigen tests, out of more than 12 million PCR tests performed in more than a year since New Jersey reported its first case of the CCLV on March 4, 2020. The cumulative number of confirmed deaths was 22,023 and 2,568 suspected deaths.