NEW JERSEY — Below you will find the most up-to-date information on coronavirus news impacting New Jersey. You can find additional resources and coverage on our coronavirus page.
Paterson schools will go remote after winter break amid COVID surge
As New Jersey continues to see a startling spike in COVID-19 cases statewide, the Paterson school district announced on Wednesday, Dec. 22, that students will start 2022 remotely. Students will begin their winter break with an early dismissal on Thursday. They were initially expected to return to classrooms on Jan. 4, however given the spike in COVID cases, they will learn remotely from Jan. 4 through Jan. 17. School buildings will reopen on Jan. 18.
NJ, NY CityMD locations temporarily close while demand for testing grows
As demand for COVID-19 tests explodes across the tri-state area, City MD is “temporarily closing” 19 locations to “preserve [the] ability to staff sites.”
Newark issues indoor mask mandate in public spaces to curb COVID uptick
Folks in Newark will need to mask up before they enter indoor public spaces under an executive order signed on Monday, Dec. 19, by Mayor Ras Baraka. The indoor mask mandate was issued as the state and city continue to see a concerning spike in COVID-19 cases, spurred by the omicron and delta variants.
Biden pledges 500M free COVID-19 tests to counter omicron
With the omicron variant on the rise, President Joe Biden announced 500 million free rapid tests for Americans, increasing support for hospitals under strain from the variant and an emphasis on vaccination and boosting efforts.
How to get a free at-home COVID test kit in NJ
Need to get tested for COVID-19? A new federally funded program allows New Jersey residents to request a free at-home COVID-19 test kit.
Moderna booster raises antibodies against omicron 37-fold
Moderna said recent data on its booster shot showed that the third dose of the COVID vaccine significantly significantly increased antibody levels against the omicron variant.
According to the company, the currently authorized booster dose increased omicron-neutralizing antibodies approximately 37-fold, compared to pre-boost levels.
Breakthrough COVID infections may create ‘super immunity’
Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University say they’ve found evidence to suggest that breakthrough infections create “super immunity” to the virus that causes COVID-19.
“You can’t get a better immune response than this,” senior author Fikadu Tafesse, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the OHSU School of Medicine, said.
Watch out for these 5 early omicron symptoms, study says
Wondering if you have a cold or the highly transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus?
Well, based on the top five symptoms according to one study, it might be hard to tell.
A year after 1st COVID vaccinations in NJ, governor pushes booster shots
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy marked the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccinations in the state on Wednesday, Dec. 15, by promoting booster shots.
US COVID-19 death toll hits 800,000
The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 800,000 on Dec. 14, a once-unimaginable figure seen as doubly tragic, given that more than 200,000 of those lives were lost after the vaccine became available last spring.
New US travel restrictions go into effect
Beginning Monday, Dec. 6, travelers heading to the U.S. will be required to show evidence of a negative COVID test within one day of boarding their flight instead of three days prior, regardless of their nationality or vaccination status. See what you need to know here.
Additionally, the TSA will extend the requirement to wear a mask on planes, trains, subways and other public transportation hubs including airports and bus terminals through the winter.
Scientists call omicron variant ‘most mutated’ version of virus
There’s one thing we keep hearing from the scientists who’ve gotten a close look at the omicron version of the virus: It’s really mutated. More mutations don’t necessarily make a virus more dangerous, but viruses evolve over time to increase their chance of survival, which can be bad for humans.
First omicron variant case confirmed in NJ, Murphy says
Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said New Jersey’s first omicron case was confirmed on Friday, Dec. 3, in a fully vaccinated woman who visited New Jersey from Georgia.
Omicron COVID variant identified in California; 1st known US case
The first known case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 was identified in California, the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Wednesday, Dec. 1. Dr. Anthony Fauci said the person was a traveler who returned from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive on Nov. 29.
US panel backs first-of-a-kind COVID-19 pill from Merck
The Food and Drug Administration panel voted 13-10 that the antiviral drug’s benefits outweigh its risks, including potential birth defects if used during pregnancy.
How to pronounce the new COVID-19 variant
Omicron, the latest COVID-19 variant of concern designated by the World Health Organization, gets its name from a letter in the Greek alphabet. But unlike the alpha or delta variants before it, omicron might not roll off the tongue so naturally to English speakers.
Rising concerns over omicron variant
Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla said he expects COVID cases to rise until at least the new year, and he’s asking people to remain vigilant over the holiday season as both New Jersey and New York closely monitor for the first cases of the omicron variant.
Omicron variant prompts new US travel ban on South Africa, other nations
The United States’ ban on non-citizen travel from South Africa and seven additional African nations began on Monday, Nov. 29, due to omicron, a new COVID-19 variant of concern, White House officials said.
5 things to know about omicron, the new COVID ‘variant of concern’
The announcement of a COVID-19 variant called omicron by scientists in South Africa, where it was first detected, has sent governments and financial markets around the world reeling. Click here to learn more about what experts know about the new “variant of concern.”
What is this new omicron COVID variant in South Africa?
South African scientists have identified a new version of the coronavirus that they say is behind a recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province. It’s unclear where the new variant actually arose, but it was first detected by scientists in South Africa and has also been seen in travelers to Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel.
CDC approves expanding COVID-19 vaccine boosters to all adults
The U.S. on Friday, Nov. 19, opened COVID-19 booster shots to all adults and took the extra step of urging people 50 and older to seek one, aiming to ward off a winter surge as coronavirus cases rise even before millions of Americans travel for the holidays.
Pfizer agrees to let other companies make its COVID-19 pill
Pfizer said it would grant a license for the antiviral pill to the Geneva-based Medicines Patent Pool, which would let generic drug companies produce the pill for use in 95 countries, making up about 53% of the world’s population.
Getting a COVID vaccine before the holidays? Here are some key dates to know
Time is running out if you plan to be fully vaccinated against COVID by the holidays. Click here for the deadlines to be fully vaccinated before each holiday.
US lifts nearly 20-month international travel ban
More than a year and a half after COVID-19 concerns prompted the U.S. to close its borders to international travelers from countries including Brazil, China, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom and much of Europe, restrictions are shifting to focus on vaccine status.
Beginning Monday, Nov. 8, bans on travel from specific countries ended. The U.S. will allow in international travelers, but they must be vaccinated — with a few exceptions.
The U.S. also reopened the land borders with Canada and Mexico for vaccinated people. Most trips from Canada and Mexico to the U.S. are by land rather than air.
US gives final clearance to COVID vaccine for kids 5 to 11
U.S. health officials on Tuesday, Nov. 2 gave the final signoff to Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opens a major expansion of the nation’s vaccination campaign to children as young as 5.
The Food and Drug Administration already authorized the shots for children ages 5 to 11 — doses just a third of the amount given to teens and adults. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention formally recommends who should receive FDA-cleared vaccines.
Vaccinated just as likely to spread delta variant within household as unvaccinated: study
Child tax credit 2022: What we know so far
As inner-party conflict continues to shave off elements of President Joe Biden’s sweeping domestic policy package, there may be good news for parents. While it’s unclear what the ultimate bill will include, Democrats arrived at a framework Thursday, Oct. 28, that included a one-year extension of the expanded child tax credit.
Moderna says its low-dose COVID shot safe, effective for kids 6 to 11
Moderna said on Oct. 25 that a low dose of its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and appears to work in 6- to 11-year-olds, as the manufacturer moves toward expanding shots to children.
FDA says Pfizer COVID vaccine looks effective for young kids
Federal health regulators said late Friday, Oct. 22, that kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appear highly effective at preventing symptomatic infections in elementary school children and caused no unexpected safety issues, as the U.S. weighs beginning vaccinations in youngsters.
NJ among top vaccinated states in U.S.
New Jersey is among the top 10 states in the country with the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates at 74%. Helping to lead the charge is Paterson, which has a 90% vaccination rate.
COVID vaccine mandate for state workers, teachers begins
Many state employees returned to in-person work on Monday, Oct. 18, the same day Gov. Phil Murphy’s requirement for them to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular virus testing went into effect. The vaccine or test mandate also applies to teachers in New Jersey.
IRS sending October installment of child tax credit after delay in September
Families across the country are starting to receive their October child tax credit. The IRS says the program’s fourth monthly payment is already hitting Americans’ bank accounts after a technical issue last month caused delays for some recipients.
New COVID safety guidance for the holidays released by the CDC
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released updated COVID-19 safety guidance for the holiday season on Friday, Oct. 15, including getting vaccinated, wearing a mask indoors if you’re not vaccinated and avoiding crowded and poorly ventilated spaces.
Rutgers team tries to understand ‘brain fog’ COVID connection
Dr. William Hu, the Chief of the Division of Cognitive Neurology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is leading a team trying to figure out what brain fog is and how it’s connected to COVID-19.
FDA endorsement essentially calls for Johnson & Johnson to be 2-shot vaccine
An FDA panel unanimously recommended a Johnson and Johnson booster vaccine on Friday, Oct. 15. The terms of the endorsement essentially call for the J&J COVID-19 vaccine to be a two-dose shot, rather than the one-dose shot for which it’s been known since it first got emergency use authorization last spring.
The panel called for a second shot to be available to people 18 and older, at least two months after the first shot.
FDA panel recommends Moderna booster shot, but the process isn’t over
A panel of medical experts affiliated with the Food and Drug Administration endorsed a COVID vaccine booster from Moderna on Thursday, Oct. 14. The panel recommended a half dose as a booster.
Need to be vaccinated by Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Christmas? Here are the deadlines
People who want to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Christmas are running out of time. Two of the three vaccines available in the U.S. require two doses spread weeks apart and a waiting period once the shots have been administered.
Vice President Kamala Harris visits NJ day care, vaccination site
Vice President Kamala Harris made a stop in New Jersey on Friday, Oct. 8, to discuss the state’s latest vaccination efforts. She visited a day care center to highlight child care provisions in the president’s spending proposal as well as a vaccination site at Essex Community College.
Children will feel impact of pandemic on mental health for years: UNICEF report
UNICEF released a critical report on Friday, Oct. 8, which found that children and young people could feel the impact of the pandemic on their mental health for many years to come.
COVID vaccine for kids: Doctor answers your questions
The Pfizer vaccine for kids could be on the market in about a month after the drug maker filed for FDA authorization Thursday, Oct. 7, for their shot for kids ages 5 to 11.
However, many parents still have questions about the children’s COVID vaccine. Dr. Sallie Permar, the head of pediatrics at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, joined the PIX11 Morning News on Friday, Oct. 8, to share more information and answer some of the biggest questions.
Pfizer’s request to OK shots for kids a relief for parents
Parents tired of worrying about classroom outbreaks and sick of telling their elementary school-age children no to sleepovers and family gatherings felt a wave of relief Thursday, Oct. 7, when Pfizer asked the U.S. government to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for youngsters ages 5 to 11.
U.S. hits 700,000 COVID deaths just as cases begin to fall
The United States reached its latest heartbreaking pandemic milestone Friday, Oct. 1, eclipsing 700,000 deaths from COVID-19 just as the surge from the delta variant is starting to slow down and give overwhelmed hospitals some relief.
NJ leaders take on ‘Mayors Vaccine Challenge’
Two New Jersey mayors are going head-to-head in an effort to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s all part of the ongoing vaccination campaign in the Garden State that has already propelled it as one of the nation’s leaders in the fight against COVID-19. Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh is squaring off with Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora in what the state is calling the “Mayors Vaccine Challenge.”
New Jersey surpasses 1 million COVID-19 cases
As of Tuesday, Sept. 28, more than 1 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in New Jersey since the pandemic reached the state in 2020.
Pfizer submits vaccine data on kids to FDA
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE announced they have submitted initial data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from the Phase 2/3 trial of their COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to 11.
In the trial, which included 2,268 participants 5 to 11 years of age, the vaccine demonstrated a favorable safety profile and elicited robust neutralizing antibody responses using a two-dose regimen of 10 μg doses.
NJ offers $500 ‘return to work bonus’ to unemployed residents
Unemployed New Jersey residents could earn a $500 bonus to return to the workforce as part of a new program announced by Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday, Sept. 27. The “Return and Earn” initiative will offer the one-time bonus to folks who secure a job through the program, including positions that require on-the-job training.
Is it safe to trick-or-treat this Halloween? CDC weighs in
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Face the Nation that kids can trick-or-treat safely this year, adding, “If you’re able to be outdoors, absolutely.”
CDC director overrules panel, backs booster for all adults in high-risk jobs
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday, Sept. 23, endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on the recommendations from a panel of advisers, but then overnight added one more the panel had rejected.
The panel had voted against saying that people ages 18 to 64 can get a booster if they are health-care workers or have another job that puts them at increased risk of being exposed to the virus.
FDA OKs Pfizer COVID-19 boosters for 65 and older, high-risk Americans
The FDA authorized booster doses for Americans who are 65 and older, younger people with underlying health conditions and those in jobs that put them at high-risk for COVID-19. The ruling represents a drastically scaled back version of the Biden administration’s sweeping plan to give third doses to nearly all American adults to shore up their protection amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.
J&J booster shot 94% effective 2 months after 1st dose
Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday, Sept. 21, said new data shows a second dose — or a booster shot — of their one-shot COVID vaccine was found to be 94% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 when given two months after the initial dose.
Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5 to 11
Pfizer said Monday, Sept. 20, its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon — a key step toward beginning vaccinations for youngsters.
Vaccine mandate for child care facilities
Gov. Phil Murphy said all child care workers and facility employees need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1 or face regular weekly testing. As of Sept. 24, all employees, students and children in a facility’s care ages two and up will need to wear masks indoors, with limited exceptions.
Moderna vaccine is most effective against hospitalization from COVID-19: study
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared how effective each of the three COVID-19 vaccines are in preventing hospitalization from the virus. The CDC reported that effectiveness was higher for the Moderna vaccine (93%) than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (88%) and the J&J vaccine (71%).
New Jersey surpassed as state with highest rate of COVID deaths
Mississippi has surpassed New Jersey as the state with the highest rate of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., with roughly 1 of every 320 Mississippians having succumbed to the coronavirus.
COVID-19 is ‘getting better’ at becoming airborne virus
Recent COVID-19 variants are much more adept at airborne transmission than the original version of the coronavirus, according to a new study. University of Maryland researchers analyzed the Alpha variant first identified in the United Kingdom and discovered that carriers breathe out 43 to 100 times more infectious viral aerosols than those infected with the original strain.
U.S. panel backs Pfizer COVID-19 boosters only for 65 and over, high-risk
An influential federal advisory panel overwhelmingly rejected a plan to give Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots to most Americans, but it endorsed the extra shots for those who are 65 or older or run a high risk of severe disease.
COVID outbreaks in NJ schools
As of Wednesday, Sept. 15, there were six outbreaks in New Jersey schools, according to Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli. An outbreak is defined as at least three cases that are epidemiologically connected and not from the same household.
The cases are a mix of students and staff, Persichilli said. More information will be released on the state Health Department website in the coming days.
EU removes US from safe travel list
The European Union recommended that its 27 nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the U.S. because of rising coronavirus infections there.
COVID-19 variants significantly reduce protection of vaccines, prior infection: study
A new study confirms that vaccinations and even prior COVID-19 infection provide significantly less protection against newer variants. Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University say in order to protect against the Alpha, Beta, and now Delta variants, these findings stress the importance of doubling down on both vaccinations and public health measures during the pandemic.
Mask debate moves from school boards to courtrooms
The rancorous debate over whether returning students should wear masks in the classroom has moved from school boards to courtrooms. In at least 14 states, lawsuits have been filed either for or against masks in schools. In some cases, normally rule-enforcing school administrators are finding themselves fighting state leaders in the name of keeping kids safe.
Supreme Court allows evictions to resume during pandemic
The Supreme Court’s conservative majority is allowing evictions to resume across the United States, blocking the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban that was put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. New Jersey’s statewide rent moratorium expires at the end of the year.
These foods are extra hard to find right now because of shortages, supply chain issues
Notice your grocery store shelves looking a little bare lately? You’re definitely not the only one. Supply chain issues have created shortages of highly specific ingredients.
‘It’s up to us’: Fauci says pandemic could possibly end by spring 2022
The nation’s top infectious disease expert believes the pandemic’s end is near as long as the U.S. follows the right protocols to contain COVID-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci said he sees the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s only open if the country’s 80 million to 90 million unvaccinated people are convinced to get the shot.
Comirnaty: What’s the story behind the new Pfizer vaccine name?
Comirnaty, who? It’s the same exact mRNA vaccine Pfizer has been producing through the emergency use authorization, but now it’s being marketed under a new name.
Is an earache a new COVID-19 symptom?
Doctors say they’re seeing a new COVID-19 symptom in some patients. According to experts, an earache has been reported more frequently by those testing positive for COVID. Earaches can cause pain, a feeling of blockage and sometimes muffled hearing.
NJ COVID hospitalizations top 1,000 for the first time since May: Gov. Murphy
For the first time since May, more than 1,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in New Jersey on Wednesday, Aug. 25, Gov. Phil Murphy said. There were 1,012 people hospitalized with COVID, 92 of whom were on ventilators, according to state Health Department data. The last time the state had more than 1,000 COVID hospitalizations was over three months ago on May 11, Murphy said.
Johnson & Johnson: Vaccine booster provides ‘rapid, robust’ response
J&J said the new data showed that a booster shot of their vaccine generated a “rapid and robust increase in spike-binding antibodies, nine-fold higher than 28 days after the primary single-dose vaccination.”
NJ to require teachers, state workers be fully vaccinated
All school personnel and state workers in New Jersey will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday, Aug. 23.
Will COVID booster shot have the same side effects as the first two shots?
The Biden administration said Wednesday, Aug. 18, that COVID booster shots will soon be available, but how will the Sept. 20 rollout work, and what side effects should Americans expect?
Lambda and B.1.621: New COVID variants could be the worst yet, doctor warns
At least two new COVID-19 variants have hit the United States and they could be worse than the delta variant in their infectiousness and ability to stand up to vaccines, according to a top medical authority.
U.S. health officials call for booster shots for all to battle COVID-19
U.S. health officials recommended all Americans get COVID-19 booster shots to shore up their protection amid the surging delta variant and evidence that the vaccines’ effectiveness is falling. The announcement was made on Aug. 18.
August child tax credit payments issued: Here’s why yours might be delayed
The second installment of expanded child tax credits was issued on Aug. 13 to millions of eligible families, but some payments will likely be delayed due to a technical glitch, the U.S. Department of Treasury said.
Schumer calls for federal crackdown on fake vaccine cards
The Senate’s top Democrat says federal law enforcement officials need to crack down on fake COVID-19 vaccination cards being sold online.
COVID claims more young victims as deaths climb yet again
The COVID-19 death toll has started soaring again as the delta variant tears through the nation’s unvaccinated population and fills up hospitals with patients, many of whom are younger than during earlier phases of the pandemic.
NJ county opens COVID booster shot appointments
Health care officials in a northern New Jersey county began offering COVID-19 booster shots to qualified residents on Aug. 14. Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. said appointments for a third shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine were open at vaccination centers at Kmart in West Orange and Essex County College in Newark.
Concerts, outdoor events still risky as delta variant surges, experts say
Concerts and outdoor events are returning, and many are requiring proof of vaccination as part of new safety protocols designed to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19. But while experts say being outdoors is less risky in general, they continue to recommend additional precautions for those visiting crowded outdoor venues.
Biden weighs stiffer vaccine rules as delta variant spreads rapidly across U.S.
When the pace of vaccinations in the U.S. first began to slow, President Joe Biden backed incentives like million-dollar cash lotteries if that’s what it took to get shots in arms. But as new COVID infections soar, he’s testing a tougher approach.
Who doesn’t need the COVID-19 vaccine?
It has been eight months since the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered to health care workers nationwide. Since then, the vaccine has become available to anyone over the age of 12. Experts explain the few instances in which a person would not qualify for, or should delay getting vaccinated.
Extra COVID shot OK’d for immunocompromised individuals
The FDA has approved an extra, third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for transplant recipients and others with severely weakened immune systems.
Fake COVID vaccine cards worry college officials
With more than 600 colleges and universities now requiring proof of COVID-19 inoculations, an online industry has sprung up offering fake vaccine cards.
What to do if you lose your COVID-19 vaccine card
Don’t worry if you’ve lost your COVID-19 vaccine card, there are several ways you can get it replaced. No matter where you got your shots, getting a replacement card is possible.
Will NJ reinstate a travel advisory?
Gov. Murphy said on Aug. 9, a new travel advisory is not off the table, but for now he encouraged mask wearing, which is mandatory in all airports and on flights, and other COVID safety protocols. “You gotta use your head,” he added.
Will NJ mandate masks indoors?
Despite CDC data showing New Jersey falls under its guidance to wear masks indoors, Gov. Murphy said he will not yet mandate face coverings but added, “we leave all options on the table.”
COVID transmission levels call for indoor masking under CDC guidelines
Indoor masking is advised in areas with COVID transmission rates considered “substantial” or “high” under recently updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Aug. 8, all of New Jersey falls under those categories.
How do you know if you have the delta variant of COVID-19?
So you’ve tested positive for COVID – but which COVID exactly? Is there a way to tell if you have the highly transmissible delta variant? There is a way to tell, but there’s not really a way for you to tell.
COVID breakthrough cases: Is one vaccine better than others?
COVID-19 breakthrough cases are rising, and now people want to know which vaccine offers the best protection from the coronavirus.
Are kids more vulnerable to the delta variant of COVID-19?
Hospitals around the United States, especially in the South, are starting to fill back up again as the delta variant tears though the country. With previous waves of infection, we’ve been most worried about the elderly being vulnerable. Now, it’s younger people – even children – starting to show up in hospital beds.
U.S. averaging 100,000 new COVID-19 infections a day as delta surges
The United States is now averaging 100,000 new COVID-19 infections a day, returning to a milestone last seen during the winter surge in yet another bleak reminder of how quickly the delta variant has spread through the country. The U.S. was averaging about 11,000 cases a day in late June. Now the number is 107,143.
NJ schools mask mandate: Teachers’ union backs, Republicans slam Murphy decision
New Jersey Republicans have largely trashed Gov. Phil Murphy’s announcement on Aug 6 that masks will be required in all schools in the upcoming academic year.
Gov. Murphy mandates masks in schools
In a reversal of plans, Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Aug. 6 a mandate for masks in schools for the upcoming academic year.
NJ health care workers must be vaccinated or tested for COVID-19
Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order on Aug. 6 mandating that all workers in state and private health care facilities either be vaccinated for COVID-19 or tested for it twice a week.
50% of U.S. population is fully vaccinated, White House says
The United States reached a vaccination milestone on Aug. 6: 50% of the population, all ages, were fully vaccinated, the White House COVID-19 data director confirmed.
CDC says people who’ve had COVID should get shot or risk reinfection
Even people who have recovered from COVID-19 are urged to get vaccinated, especially as the extra-contagious delta variant surges — and a new study shows survivors who ignored that advice were more than twice as likely to get reinfected.
‘You have lost your minds’: Murphy lashes out at anti-vax protesters
Gov. Phil Murphy ran out of patience for protesters against the COVID-19 vaccine at a bill signing in Union City on Aug. 4.
Warning of more delta mutations, Fauci urges vaccinations
The White House COVID-19 response team said the delta variant continues to surge across the country. During a briefing on Aug. 5, Dr. Anthony Fauci called on Americans to take precautions to stop the virus from mutating. “The ultimate end game of all this is vaccination,” he said.
Moderna says vaccine 93% effective after 6 months
Moderna said its COVID vaccine has 93% efficacy six months after the second shot, according to a report released on Aug. 5.
Can I get ‘long COVID’ if I’m infected after getting vaccinated?
It’s unclear, but researchers are studying the chances of long-term symptoms developing in anyone who might get infected after vaccination.
What is the delta plus variant of COVID?
The latest surge in COVID-19 infections is fueled by the highly contagious delta variant first identified in India late last year. Now, a variation of that variant is beginning to generate headlines. Here’s what we know about the COVID sub-strain being called delta plus.
Vaccine mandate for state colleges?
Currently, some state colleges in New Jersey are mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for students and staff and some have made it optional. Murphy said a universal mandate “is certainly an option,” but for now individual universities can make their own call.
More ‘pain and suffering’ ahead as COVID cases rise, Fauci says
Dr. Anthony Fauci warned on Aug. 1 that more “pain and suffering” is on the horizon as COVID-19 cases climb again and officials plead with unvaccinated Americans to get their shots.
Walmart requiring COVID vaccination, masks for many employees
In a memo, Walmart announced that associates who work in multiple facilities, and associates of its campus office, will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 4. Walmart also required associates, including those fully vaccinated, to wear masks in its stores.
Iconic NJ restaurant The Fireplace closes after 65 years
A popular restaurant in New Jersey closed its doors after 65 years of service.
The Fireplace, like many other restaurants across the country, was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and temporarily shuttered its doors before reopening in May, when they implemented drive-thru, takeout and curbside pickup followed by indoor dining in October.
New delta variant research makes strong case for vaccination
A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized the delta variant is more dangerous and fast-spreading than first thought. The findings also made clear why efforts to get more people vaccinated are vital.
CDC data shows delta variant spreads as easily as chickenpox
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new information on July 30, saying the coronavirus delta variant can spread as easily as chickenpox.
Pfizer: COVID vaccine protective for at least 6 months
The effectiveness of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine wanes slightly over time but it remains strongly protective for at least six months after the second dose, according to company data released on July 28.
Disney World requires masks indoors regardless of vaccination status
Beginning July 30, Disney World required all visitors ages 2 and older to wear a face covering while indoors as well as in Disney buses, the monorail and the Disney Skyliner, regardless of vaccination status.
NJ mask guidance
Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli strongly recommended that both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents wear masks in indoor settings when there is increased risk.
CDC mask guidance: Vaccinated people should wear face coverings in public indoor settings
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging.
U.S. headed in ‘wrong direction’ on COVID-19, Fauci says
The United States is in an “unnecessary predicament” of soaring COVID-19 cases fueled by unvaccinated Americans and the virulent delta variant, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert said on July 25.
Doctors warn about slightly different symptoms with delta variant of COVID
As concern grows regarding the COVID-19 delta variant, health leaders are warning about somewhat different symptoms that come with it.
Most unvaccinated Americans unlikely to get COVID-19 shots, new AP poll finds
A new poll shows that most Americans who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 say they are unlikely to get the shots. About 16% say they probably will get the vaccine.
Is asking about someone’s COVID vaccine status a HIPAA violation?
HIPAA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996 during a time when medical records were being computerized. It was created to simplify the administration of health insurance and to prevent unauthorized access to peoples’ medical histories.
In fact, HIPAA doesn’t block anyone from asking another person about their health status, according to Alan Meisel, law professor and bioethics expert at the University of Pittsburgh.
Gov. Murphy holds off on reinstating mask mandate
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says he’s not ready to reinstitute mask requirements, now or when schools are back in session in September. Murphy says he “is comfortable where we are” on mask mandates but is also closely monitoring developments.
Child tax credit checks: Will they become permanent?
The parents of an estimated 60 million American children began receiving child tax credit payments from the IRS in a move expected to lift millions of families above the poverty baseline for the remainder of 2021. Should they become permanent?
Biden grapples with ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’
President Joe Biden is confronting the worrying reality of rising cases and deaths — and the limitations of his ability to combat the persistent vaccine hesitance responsible for the summer backslide.
Child tax credit: When to expect payments, how it may impact tax returns
Payments for the highly anticipated expanded child tax credits were being sent to families in the tri-state area, and the rest of the nation, for the first time in mid-July. While the additional money may be very helpful for some families across the economic spectrum, the overall tax credit situation is complicated.
Common cholesterol drugs may significantly reduce risk of death from COVID-19: study
Statins, a common medication for lowering cholesterol, may be saving lives among patients with COVID-19. A new study reveals hospitalized coronavirus patients who take statins are much less likely to die from the illness.
WHO chief says it was ‘premature’ to rule out COVID lab leak
The head of the World Health Organization acknowledged it was premature to rule out a potential link between the COVID-19 pandemic and a laboratory leak, and he said he is asking China to be more transparent as scientists search for the origins of the coronavirus.
Wildfire smoke linked to increased COVID-19 risk, study says
A new study suggests that exposure to wildfire smoke is linked to an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
What can I do if I didn’t get my child tax credit payment?
The official disbursement date for the first child tax credit payments from the Internal Revenue Service was July 15, but parents may not see the cash right away.
Delta now dominant COVID variant in New Jersey
The highly transmissible delta variant is now the dominant strain in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy said on July 12. The governor urged New Jersey residents to get vaccinated against COVID if they haven’t already done so.
Global COVID-19 deaths hit 4 million amid rush to vaccinate
The global death toll from COVID-19 eclipsed 4 million in July as the crisis increasingly becomes a race between the vaccine and the highly contagious delta variant.
99 percent of U.S. COVID deaths are unvaccinated people: Fauci
America’s top infectious disease expert says about 99.2% of recent COVID-19 deaths in the United States involved unvaccinated people. And Dr. Anthony Fauci says “it’s really sad and tragic that most all of these are avoidable and preventable.”
There’s more to the worker shortage than pandemic unemployment, experts say
The workforce shortage is a combination of several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, a shift in the economy, and changes in the workforce demographics, experts say.
Free health insurance included in stimulus benefits for unemployment recipients
Along with $1,400 stimulus checks and monthly child tax credit payments, the American Rescue Plan has another important benefit available to people who qualified for unemployment assistance this year: free health care.
Will one dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine protect me?
Yes, but not nearly as much as if you had both doses. Experts recommend getting fully vaccinated, especially with the emergence of worrisome coronavirus mutations such as the delta variant first identified in India.
Workers enjoy the upper hand as companies scramble to hire
With the economy growing rapidly as it reopens from the pandemic, many employers are increasingly desperate to hire. Yet evidence suggests that as a group, the unemployed aren’t feeling the same urgency to take jobs.
New York, New Jersey and several companies nationwide are offering incentives for those who get vaccinated, including free food and drinks.
Latest official indicators
As of Friday, there have been 1,217,677 total positive PCR tests in the state since March 2020, and there have been 26,006 lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths, according to the state Health Department.