N.J. Expects Second Wave to Peak in 2021’s First Quarter


New Jersey’s second wave of Covid-19 cases could peak in the first quarter of next year, officials said.

The state’s health chief, Judy Persichilli, said that “very, very preliminary” predictive modeling indicated the spread would continue into 2021.

“It changes every day,” Persichilli said during a webcast news conference. “We’re going to be vigilant from now through March.”

New Jersey, hit early and hard by the pandemic, has logged 14,564 deaths with a confirmed novel coronavirus lab result and 1,793 fatalities with untested but probable links. In recent weeks, the state has seen rising numbers in several areas, even as masking in public indoor places remains mandatory and some businesses, including restaurants, are operating with capacity limits and other restrictions.

For the sixth-straight day, New Jersey hospitals had more than 1,000 cases of Covid-19. A month ago, just 485 such patients were hospitalized. On Oct. 31, the state had more than 100 patients on ventilators for the first time since July 8. Though the state reported three deaths in the past 24 hours, hospitals logged 20 more fatalities that may have a coronavirus link.

Governor Phil Murphy said cases will rise as weather continues to cool, drawing people indoors and into greater risk.

“On top of each other at a Halloween party, on top of each other at an after-football watch party or at a Thanksgiving event of some sort -- that is where our concern is,” Murphy said. “That is where we think the indoor exposure is coming from.”

The population showing the most cases recently is 35 to 55 years old, according to Ed Lifshitz, a physician and medical director of the state health department. That follows the warm summer months when high school- and college-age residents were more likely to be infected.

“That age group has leveled off,” Lifshitz said. “Working adults have increased.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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