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.
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.
COVID vaccines would be required for military under new plan
Members of the U.S. military would be required to have the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Sept. 15, under a plan announced by the Pentagon on Aug. 9 and endorsed by President Joe Biden.
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 Sunday, there have been 948,858 total positive PCR tests in the state since March 2020, and there have been 24,127 lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths, according to the state Health Department.