N.J. Covid Models Show Spread Getting Worse Before Better

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New Jersey presented two model scenarios for Covid-19, both of which predict cases and hospitalizations will increase in April amid another wave of the outbreak.

Under the moderate scenario, cases and hospitalizations will reach a high of about 5,400 and 2,600, respectively, in mid-April. Cases wouldn’t drop below 3,000 until June, while hospitalizations wouldn’t be less than 1,000 until around August.

“This feels to me closest to the reality we’re going to be dealing with,” Governor Phil Murphy said Wednesday.

The high-case model assumes that the vaccines are far less effective against variants, and that people will relax their adherence to social distancing and masks. If this occurs, New Jersey sees daily cases of more than 8,000 in mid-May and again in mid-June, and wouldn’t drop to 6,000 until August. Hospitalizations would reach more than 3,500 in May and again in June, and wouldn’t drop below 3,000 until August.

“The numbers don’t come close to our physical capacities” in hospitals, Murphy said. “I’m more concerned about how elongated this becomes.”

Hospitalizations have increased 28% over two weeks, with the biggest percentage jump among those ages 40-49, according to state health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.

“We are definitely in another wave of this virus,” Persichilli said.

New Jersey on Wednesday reported 4,586 new cases, for a total of 799,391; and 44 new deaths, for a total of 21,993. Hospitalizations have climbed to 2,363, from less than 1,800 on March 6. During the December and January surge, more than 3,800 people were hospitalized for Covid-19 at one time in New Jersey.

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