New Jersey health officials on Sunday reported another 4,613 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 17 additional deaths as predictive models from the state suggest we’ve hit the peak of the second wave of the pandemic.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced the latest figures on social media.
They came the same day new predictive models from the state Department of Health showed Sunday could be the peak of the state’s second wave of the pandemic.
The scenarios show there could be 5,467 new cases and 3,796 people hospitalized as of Sunday under a moderate prediction (there were 3,186 people hospitalized as of Saturday). But as many as 6,833 new positive tests and 4,745 hospitalizations could also play out on the same day under the worst-case scenario.
The moderate model shows a steeper decline in cases and hospitalizations over the coming months with the potential for around 500 new cases a day and about 375 people being treated in hospitals by the end of June.
Under the worst-case modeling scenario, however, the decline in cases and hospitalizations would be much slower. That model forecasts the state could still have 4,706 daily cases and 3,268 patients hospitalized by the end of June. Both forecasts predict a bump in cases and hospitalizations in the coming days.
Much could depend on how quickly New Jersey receives and distributes vaccine doses.
Murphy has said he wants to have 70% of the state’s eligible population — nearly 5 million people — vaccinated by May.
Health officials, meanwhile, announced Friday the first two cases of the highly-contagious COVID-19 variant first identified in the U.K. have been discovered in the Garden State.
Scientists have said the mutation is up to 70% more contagious. But there is no evidence yet it is more deadly or more resistant to vaccines. New Jersey joins at least 20 states where the strain has been confirmed. The first case identified is from an Ocean County man in his 60s and the other is a child who was traveling to northern New Jersey.
The pandemic has killed at least 20,951 people in the state since the first COVID-19 death in March.
Deaths from the coronavirus in New Jersey surpassed what is typically recorded for heart disease and cancer, the two leading killers year after year. On Dec. 31, the state’s official coronavirus toll reached 19,042 confirmed and probable deaths in a pandemic that devastated during the spring, then exploded again in the fall and winter in a second wave that is still roiling.
That exceeded the usual annual deaths produced by cancer, which killed nearly 16,200 people a year from 2014 to 2019, according to Department of Health data. It also exceeded that of heart disease, which claimed more than 18,650 lives on average over those six years.
The number of vaccine doses administered has pushed past 500,000, according to the state’s dashboard tracking vaccinations, which showed 524,865 as of Sunday afternoon. Of those, 459,635 were the first of two doses people will receive.
New Jersey has received 989,900 doses from the federal government, according to a…