New data shows much higher COVID risks for the unvaccinated in NJ
Gov. Phil Murphy continues to use numbers to urge the unvaccinated to roll their sleeves up as the state nears almost six million people who are fully vaccinated.
During the latest coronavirus update in Trenton on Monday, Murphy announced preliminary data from the most recent week available on the number of COVID-19 positive breakthrough cases. A breakthrough case is when someone fully vaccinated tests positive for COVID.
According to the data, of the 10,632 positive COVID-19 cases reported in the state from Sept. 27 through Oct. 3, 2,352 of them were breakthrough cases. Additionally, of the 834 people hospitalized, only 17 of them accounted for fully vaccinated people. During the seven day period, the state reported 98 COVID-related deaths, with two of those deaths accounting for fully vaccinated people.
"These numbers speak for themselves. The vaccines in our toolkit are continuing to perform exceptionally well,” Murphy said.
In addition to the weekly numbers, Murphy also updated the overall number of breakthrough cases seen since the state started to administer the vaccines in December 2021.
With 5,630,796 people who live, work or study in New Jersey fully vaccinated as of Oct. 4, there's been 36,616 positive COVID-19 breakthrough cases, 794 COVID-19-related hospitalizations and 215 COVID-19-related deaths.
While stressing that nothing is 100% perfect, Murphy said these numbers show that the vaccinations are highly-protective, adding that getting "your booster shot when it's available will only enhance that protection."
Age can play role in breakthrough cases
According to Dr. Ed Lifshitz, the director of communicable disease services for the New Jersey Department of Health, when looking at the rate of breakthrough infections among people in different age groups, “your rates are relatively similar, running between about .6% to .7%, .8% in that range.”
He said when it comes to COVID hospitalization breakthrough cases, those between the ages of 18 to 29 have a .004% chance of being hospitalized with a breakthrough case. That's in comparison to those over the age of 80, who Lifshitz said have a .198% chance of being hospitalized with a breakthrough case.
“The younger you are – you’re extremely unlikely to die, as you get older, you’re just very unlikely to die,” Lifshitz said.
As for those people that are vaccinated, but still wind up in the hospital with COVID-19, Lifshitz said about two thirds of them had preexisting medical conditions.
“In general the older you are, the more preexisting conditions you have – the more likely you’re going to have a bad outcome should you get a breakthrough case,” he said.
The state reported 1,307 new confirmed cases of the virus on Monday, with the rate of transmission dropping from 0.93 to 0.92.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at firstname.lastname@example.org.