By Elliott Nguyen
Cases of Covid-19 in New Jersey have begun to decline following the recent rise. New cases in the state had been rising since late February of 2021, according to the New York Times. Across the state, daily cases reached as high as 5,608 new cases on April 1.
“I think that the rise was a result of college campuses opening up a bit more, workplaces doing the same,” said Luctamuelle Joseph, a sophomore biology major at the College. “Just overall people being tired of the pandemic and less likely to quarantine or social distance.”
Since April, however, those numbers began steadily declining and are now at the level they were at in mid-March.
Thus far, 26% of all residents in the state are now fully vaccinated, according to the New York Times, who based their findings on data from the CDC, and 46% of residents have received at least one dose. The Times clarified that though eligibility has yet to extend to children in the state, the data includes them.
Joseph cited the state’s increasingly vaccinated population as possibly contributing to the current decline in new cases. “Also because of the rise in cases earlier in the year, institutions and companies backtracked to stricter protocol to ensure the cases don’t get out of control,” she said.
In Mercer County, the trend of new cases is similar, though trending downward less steadily. On April 12, there were 107 new cases according to Covid Act Now. While it represented an increase from previous days, it was ultimately lower than the recent peak on April 1, which saw 121 new cases.
With 69 new confirmed cases as of April 15, Mercer County is ranked fifteenth out of the state’s 21 counties in terms of greatest number of new cases, according to the NJ Department of Health. The department’s Covid-19 dashboard lists the state to be in “Stage 2,” which it clarifies as “moderate risk activities restarted with safeguarding.”
Joseph speculated on the future and noted that the recent pause of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine could potentially affect the rate of vaccinations. “I think the J&J vaccine may set us back a bit since they’re having issues with that,” Joseph said. “We may see people be more hesitant to get vaccinated because of what’s going on with that, and that may also contribute to an increase of cases since we are slowing down the process of herd immunity.”
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices postponed a meeting to review the vaccine until Wednesday, April 21 when it plans to make a decision.
“I think the cases will continue to rise and fall. One thing we have learned in the past year is to expect the unexpected so no one can say for sure what these next few months will look like,” Joseph said. “It seems that the virus dies down a bit in the summer and we may see that same pattern this summer. I think the best thing to do is to continue wearing masks and washing hands and getting vaccinated.”