Another 43 residents of New Jersey have died as a result of complications from the coronavirus, bringing the state’s COVID-19 death toll 25,006 people. State officials have confirmed 22,414 deaths were due to COVID-19 complications, and another 2,592 deaths have been ruled probable COVID-related deaths.
New Jersey has about nine million residents and is the most densely populated state in the nation. The deaths due to COVID-19 over the past 13 months in New Jersey have exceeded the populations of entire towns. To put the death toll in perspective, it exceeds the combined populations of Hopewell Township, Hopewell Borough, and Pennington Borough. At his regular press briefing on Wednesday, Governor Phil Murphy called the death toll “beyond fathomable.”
On Wednesday, the state received positive test results for another 2,828 COVID-19 cases just a day after the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused due to federal recommendations because of concerns about extremely rare instances where women have suffered blood clots several days after receiving the J&J vaccine. Murphy stressed again on Wednesday that such adverse effects have not been reported in New Jersey, and that there have not been major adverse effects reported for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
“For sure, these six cases each appear to be extremely rare and serious, as there have been nearly seven million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered nationwide. And in New Jersey, where we had administered just over 244,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after hitting pause, no similar adverse effects have been reported,” Murphy said. “Even with this pause, our overall goal of vaccinating 4.7 million adult New Jerseyans by the end of June remains not only in place, but entirely achievable.”
Murphy said that as of Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson vaccines made up only four percent of the more than 5.6 million vaccine doses administered in New Jersey.
“No one who has received this vaccine should panic or worry. This review by the CDC and the FDA is coming out of an abundance of caution,” Murphy said. “Moreover, this review is critical to our efforts both statewide and nationwide to ensure confidence in our vaccination program and in the vaccines themselves.”
The state will move forward with allowing all residents 16 and older to get vaccinated starting Monday, Murphy said.
In New Jersey, the state Department of Health has received positive PCR test results for 845,201 residents since March 4 of last year. The state has received an additional 118,283 positive antigen test results.
State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said it is important to remember that the risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19 is much greater than experiencing the extremely rare possible side effect that prompted the federal government to put the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on pause out of an abundance of caution. In New Jersey, 47,266 women in the 18 to 48 age group have received the J&J vaccine. Persichilli said residents of any age who have received the J&J vaccine in the past three weeks who experience leg pain, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, or a severe headache should call a doctor or go to a hospital to be assessed. Persicihilli urged people to get vaccinated, noting that the coronavirus has killed one in every 500 residents in the state. The health commissioner also noted that a large percentage of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are now people under the age of 60. About 49% of hospital admissions due to COVID-19 complications are people under 60. In December the figure was 35%.