Brace yourselves, New Jersey: Another COVID winter is coming - NJ.com
Sep 26, 2021 2 mins, 8 secs

But late 2021 is now looming close on the horizon and public health experts are issuing a cold dose of reality: Sorry, folks, but another COVID winter is coming.

With temperatures plummeting, people being forced indoors and schools now open for in-person instruction, the virus is expected to surge yet again this fall and winter, experts said.

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention diverged from the agency’s independent vaccine advisers to recommend boosters for those ages 18 to 64 who are at increased risk of COVID-19 because of workplaces or institutional settings and older adults, long-term care facility residents and some people with underlying health conditions.

Strom, the chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

The CDC is recommending people in all 21 counties wear masks in indoor public settings regardless of the state’s vaccination rates.

But several experts said they fear the numbers are likely to get even worse in the coming weeks and months after an anticipated increase in cases from the Labor Day holiday and as school gets underway.

I’m not sure,” said Stephanie Silvera, an epidemiologist and public health professor at Montclair State University.

The frustrating part about the likelihood of another COVID winter is New Jersey is among the top states when it comes to vaccinations.

More than 5.7 million people who live, work or study in New Jersey have been fully vaccinated as of Saturday, and more than 6.3 million people have received at least one dose.

Nearly 64% of the adult population in New Jersey are fully vaccinated — the sixth-best rate of any state, according to the Mayo Clinic.

And yet it still hasn’t been enough to stop the spread of the virus — especially the Delta variant, which continues to increase in prevalence in New Jersey with 99% of sampled cases in the four weeks ending Aug.

Delta has led to breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated people, although those patients tend to not to die or need to be hospitalized.

At present, a quarter of all new COVID cases are kids, Strom said.

Michael Conti Public School prepares for the school year in Jersey City on Monday, August 23, 2021John Jones | For NJ Advance Media.

Experts said they don’t anticipate any more widespread school closings, but rather more fluidity when it comes to outbreaks.

If anything, Strom and others believe controversial vaccine passports or showing proof of a negative COVID test will only increase in prevalence the rest of 2021.

“If businesses are smart, they will restrict their clients to people who are vaccinated, which will allow them to stay open,” Strom said.

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