Even as New Jersey residents return to a normal summer routine, there has been no surge in COVID-19 cases.

For two weeks in a row, the number of new COVID positive tests being reported by the state has been below 300 per day. The spot positivity rate is just 1.35%. While the rate of transmission (r/t) has been ticking up slightly, it remains below 1.0 at .94. A r/t below one means the outbreak is contracting. The state reported just 3 additional lab confirmed deaths blamed on a COVID infection and hospitalizations have dropped below 300.

All of the figures represent some of the lowest totals since the state started recording COVID data in the Spring of 2020. The continuing decline comes after Governor Phil Murphy lifted most indoor and outdoor restrictions allowing residents to move and gather freely without limits and no mask.

There has been rising concern about the so-called Delta COVID variant. This is the mutation that has devastated parts of Europe and India. It is considered more contagious, and may have a higher risk of hospitalization. Many health experts have predicted Delta will become the dominant COVID strain in the US and around the world. It currently accounts for 10% of new cases nationwide. In New Jersey, however, the state's COVID dashboard shows Delta accounts for only 5.11% of all COVID mutations that have been sequenced.

New Jersey's high vaccination rate may be one reason COVID mutations have not been as prevalent here. Current vaccines have proven effective against Delta and other variants. Governor Murphy announced last week 70% of the state population has been fully vaccinated. As of Sunday, 4,789,047 people had received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Vaccine is now plentiful, with most pharmacies taking walk-in appointments. Scientists have said the best way to prevent the rise of COVID mutations is to limit the number of hosts it has to infect. The best way to do that, they say, is through robust vaccination.

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