It’s that time of year when coughing becomes quite common.
In the Northeast, aside from New York City, the only place where respiratory illness activity is categorized as “high” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the Garden State.
Communities across New Jersey are currently facing an onslaught of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the flu, and COVID-19, in addition to the usual colds.
Tina Tan, the state’s epidemiologist in the Department of Health, explains that New Jersey is currently experiencing a surge in activity for all these viruses. Of particular concern is the impact of RSV on young children.
“We anticipate a rise in cases of the flu, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), and COVID-19,” stated Tan during an interview with New Jersey 101.5.
New Jersey flu activity
The Department of Health (DOH) has categorized influenza activity in the state as “moderate” at present.
This season has seen a total of eight reported influenza outbreaks.
According to Tan, the flu vaccine seems to be well-matched with the flu viruses currently circulating in the community. He also mentioned that there have been no confirmed flu-associated pediatric deaths this season.
Health officials have been urging residents for several months now to take action against the flu by getting vaccinated for the season. While the vaccine may not completely prevent you from getting the virus, it can potentially lessen the severity of symptoms.
New Jersey COVID-19 activity
The Biden Administration is taking steps to make COVID-19 tests more accessible and affordable for Americans. In an effort to combat the ongoing pandemic, President Biden has announced a new initiative to provide free at-home rapid tests to millions of people across the country. The tests will be available through a website where individuals can request up to four tests per household. This initiative aims to make testing more convenient and reduce the spread of the virus by allowing individuals to quickly and easily test themselves in the comfort of their own homes. The Biden Administration is also working to increase the availability and reduce the cost of tests in other settings, such as schools and workplaces. By making testing more accessible and affordable, the administration hopes to curb the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and well-being of all Americans.
According to data from the Department of Health (DOH), the number of positive and probable COVID-19 cases in the state has been steadily rising in recent weeks. However, it is important to note that the current count is still lower than the peak seen during a period between August and September.
New Jersey can anticipate a surge in positive cases in the upcoming year, if last season is any indication. During the week of January 21, there was an increase of approximately 10,000 positive cases compared to early December 2023.
In New Jersey, COVID-19 accounted for 2.5% of deaths during the reporting week that concluded on December 2nd.
Health professionals are now offering another round of COVID-19 vaccinations for this season. It is now possible to receive both a COVID shot and a flu shot during the same visit, according to experts in the field.
RSV activity in New Jersey
RSV protection is readily accessible for the more susceptible residents of New Jersey.
RSV can be a nuisance for many individuals, but it can have a significant impact on the older and youngest residents of New Jersey.
In recent months, federal authorities have granted approval for immunizations targeting RSV, with the aim of providing better protection for individuals at high risk. These vaccines are specifically designed for individuals aged 60 and above, as well as expectant mothers who are within a month or two of their due date.
This year marks the introduction of a proactive measure for infants and at-risk toddlers during the RSV season. It is now recommended by the CDC that all infants under eight months receive an injection of antibodies.
Recently, the CDC’s data on New Jersey has shown that the percentage of emergency department visits attributed to influenza, COVID-19, and RSV has increased compared to a month ago.
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