New data from the New Jersey Health Department shows the highly contagious delta variant is causing a higher percentage of breakthrough cases than previously recorded, but the COVID vaccines are still providing extraordinary protection against serious illness and death.

During the most recent coronavirus update on Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy said from August 23-29 a total of 12,051 people tested positive for the virus in the Garden State, and 2,603 of them were fully vaccinated.

That means about 78.5% of the new confirmed COVID cases were among the unvaccinated.

The data also shows during that same week, 945 people were hospitalized. Just 35 were fully vaccinated.

And all 80 COVID deaths recorded that week were people who had not been vaccinated. Among all COVID deaths in the weeks leading up through Aug. 30, just 97 were fully vaccinated people who contracted breakthrough cases of the coronavirus.

Office of the Governor
Office of the Governor
Office of the Governor
Office of the Governor

“The vaccines continue to prove incredibly powerful in preventing not only new infections but most importantly COVID related hospitalizations and deaths,” Murphy said.

Since the vaccine rollout began last December, less than one third of 1% of fully vaccinated Garden State residents have tested positive for COVID, and of the more than 5 million people fully vaccinated by the end of August, a total of 386 have been hospitalized.

He said everyone should understand the overwhelming number of New Jersey residents contracting the virus, going to the hospital because of a COVID-related illness, or dying from complications of COVID “continue to be folks who are either unvaccinated, or under-vaccinated. There is simply no other way to interpret this data, the vaccines work and they work well.”

Dr. Ed Lifshitz, the director of communicable disease services for the New Jersey Health Department, said with the most recent data “those who are not vaccinated are 7 times as likely to be hospitalized if they get ill.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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