NJ COVID latest: Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Coronavirus
Masks worn in New Jersey mall store

Meghan Griffin stands at the entrance of a store offering masks, gloves and hand sanitizer at the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, N.J., Monday, June 29, 2020.

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.

Gov. Murphy gives NJ COVID update

Daily health indicators

  • New cases: 1,173 (Statewide total: 910,183)
  • Hospitalizations: 576
    • ICU: 98
    • Ventilators: 43
  • New deaths: 10 (Death toll: 23,895) 
  • The statewide rate of transmission: 1.38
  • Vaccines administered: 10,521,016
    • Fully vaccinated: 5,315,049

Possible mask mandate?

Gov. Murphy said he’s sticking to his statement on July 28 that strongly recommends masks in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status, but doesn’t feel it’s necessary to push a new mandate right now. However, he said he would issue a new mask mandate if the health data warrants such a move.

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.

Will masks be required in schools?

Murphy said the state will not wait until the last minute to make that decision, however, it’s still too soon to say whether masks will be mandated in school settings. The governor said it’s better to wait until they get closer to the start of the academic year to have the fullest picture possible of what the pandemic looks like before making that call.

More ‘pain and suffering’ ahead as COVID cases rise, Fauci says

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned on Sunday, 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 closing 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 Friday, 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 Wednesday.

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.

US 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 Sunday, 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.

First Olympic Village resident tests positive for COVID-19

The Olympic Village has its first case of COVID-19, Tokyo officials said. The case, detected via a positive COVID-19 test, was observed in a “games-concerned personnel” and not an athlete, organizers said in a recent report. The patient’s identity was not disclosed, though they were listed as a non-resident of Japan.

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.

Will a COVID vaccine booster shot be needed? Fauci says it’s too soon to tell

The government’s top infectious diseases expert said “it is entirely conceivable, maybe likely” that Americans will need a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming months, but it is too soon for the government to recommend another shot.

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 US 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.

No state mask mandate for NJ students next fall

Masks will not be mandatory for students in New Jersey unless there’s a “dramatic change in our situation” before the next academic year, Gov. Phil Murphy said. However, school districts will have the authority to require masks as part of their own protocols.

Vaccine freebies

New York, New Jersey and several companies nationwide are offering incentives for those who get vaccinated, including free food, drinks and a scratch-and-win ticket where people have the chance to win $5 million.

Latest official indicators

As of Tuesday, there have been 910,183 total positive PCR tests in the state since March 2020, and there have been 23,895 lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths, according to the state Health Department.

COVID-19 timeline: How novel coronavirus spread

Tips to protect yourself and others amid coronavirus outbreaks

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