HOBOKEN, N.J. — Now that New York State has lifted virtually all of its COVID-19 restrictions, what might lie ahead may be seen just across the Hudson River in New Jersey.
The Garden State lifted most of its restrictions on June 4. While things are not fully back to normal, New Jersey healthcare leaders say that the current coronavirus situation here puts the state in a good position for the next COVID-19 battle, against the new and deadly Delta variant.
On Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy assessed the situation at his regularly scheduled coronavirus update.
“It has been now two-and-a-half weeks since we said you don’t need to wear a mask any more,” he said at the news conference, “and the numbers have stayed good.”
Those numbers show that while New Jersey has a slightly higher daily infection rate than New York — 0.91%, compared to 0.35%, respectively — neither number passes the 1% viral infection rate.
The Garden State’s other numbers are more impressive when it comes to the fight against the virus.
Its vaccination rate for adults who’ve gotten a first dose is 76.5%, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That compares favorably to New York’s rate of 70.2%.
When it comes to full vaccination, though, the numbers are even more important, regarding the next phase of the coronavirus battle.
It was highlighted by a new development on Wednesday that New Jersey’s health commissioner announced.
“The Delta variant is upgraded to a variant of concern, from a variant of interest,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli announced at the governor’s news conference.
That upgrade in alert was made by the CDC, as the variant grows in presence in the U.S.
Already, it’s killed thousands of people in India, and has prevented the U.K. from lifting its Covid restrictions.
Part of the U.K.’s surge, New Jersey healthcare leaders said, was due to that country following a protocol of having some people take only a first dose of two-dose vaccines.
It’s only in patients who are fully vaccinated that vaccines have been shown to be effective against the Delta variant.
In New Jersey, 65.3% of adults are now fully vaccinated. In New York, that number is 61.9%, according to the CDC.
When it comes to vaccinations in the Tri-state, Connecticut is actually the leader. About 69.1% of adults there are fully vaccinated and 77.4% have gotten one dose.