Page 6 - March 23, 2022
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{ 6 }  SNJ Today  |  MARCH 23, 2022                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MARCH 23, 2022  |  { 7 }
              COMMUNITY UPDATE

     can be directed to Lt. Jasmin Calderon at   Organization. What’s not yet known is if
     856-453-0486, ext. 11108 or Veterans@  BA.2 causes severe illness the way omicron   Statement from Gov. Murphy and Commissioner .                BA.1 did, which prompted a rapid surge   Persichilli on Global COVID Case Rise
                                          in cases, hospitalizations and deaths for a   March 17, 2022—We are closely watching the recent rise in global COVID
                                          month before plummeting just as quickly.
     New COVID Variant Spreads              While omicron BA.1 was considered   numbers and, given both previous trends with regard to spread and our loca-
     Quickly in NJ. Here’s What           milder than both COVID’s original strain   tion as an international nexus for travel and trade, we do anticipate that we will
                                                                                eventually see an increase in the number of cases in New Jersey. We will con-
                                          and the delta variant, more than 2,000 New
     To Know About BA.2                   Jerseyans died during its short peak.   tinue to closely monitor virus activity in the state, in particular for impacts to
        By Scott Fallon,, March   “We often don’t know until it’s too late,”   our health care system.
     17, 2022                             said Stephanie Silvera, an infectious disease   However, at this time, we do not anticipate any need to reinstate universal
        This story is being republished under a   specialist at Montclair State University.   statewide mandated protective measures. We encourage residents to stay up
     special NJ News Commons content-sharing   “That’s been the problem with managing   to date with vaccinations and boosters, get tested when exposed or sick, and
     agreement related to COVID-19 coverage. Link   these surges. Deaths are one of the last   monitor the state’s COVID-19 Activity Level (CALI) Report and CDC COVID
     to story:  impacts we see.”               Community Levels for awareness of local COVID-19 activity and CDC masking
     navirus/2022/03/17/ba-2-omicron-variant-  Is New Jersey seeing any impact?   recommendations. Those who are immunocompromised or otherwise at high
     covid-nj-new-york/7047173001/        So far, it doesn’t look as if BA.2 is mak-  risk are encouraged to follow the guidance of their health care provider and the
        A new COVID variant is spreading   ing a noticeable impact. But public health   CDC.
     quickly across New Jersey a month after   officials say they are closely monitoring its   We continue to be among the nation’s most-vaccinated states. Our health care
     it was first detected in the state, new data   spread. Key COVID metrics such as cases,   infrastructure remains strong.
     released this week shows.            hospitalizations and deaths continue to   We are not going to manage COVID to zero nor are we impervious to the
        The BA.2 variant appears to be on its   drop almost every day, and are hovering   virus. We expect COVID to continue to mutate and cases to continue to ebb and
     way to becoming the dominant COVID   around levels last seen in July before the   flow. Moving to an endemic status still means we must all take personal respon-
     strain in the region, having more than dou-  delta variant surge.          sibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
     bled in prevalence in only a week, according   As of Tuesday night, COVID hospitaliza-
     to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.   tions were at 438, intensive care admissions   you may also have good protection against   virus as a part of daily life and are forgoing
        On Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy said   at 81 and ventilator use at 49—a decrease of   BA.2, according to the World Health   full shutdowns.
     he expects cases to rise in New Jersey due   more than 90 percent since omicron’s peak   Organization.           China ordered a lockdown of residents
     to surges seen in parts of Asia and Europe.   in mid-January. Only 559 new cases were   While reinfection is possible, studies   in the city of Changchun, closed schools in
     But he said he doesn’t expect to reinstate   reported on Tuesday compared to a high   suggest that infection with BA.1 “provides   Shanghai and urged the public not to leave
     “universal statewide mandated protective   of 33,459 on January 7 when omicron was   strong protection” against reinfection with   Beijing last weekend amid a new spike.
     measures.”                           peaking and record numbers of tests were   BA.2.                            Hong Kong has seen its worst spike
        It is unclear how much of an impact   being taken during and after the holiday   The hundreds of thousands of infections   in recent weeks after limiting COVID’s
     BA.2 will have on New Jersey and whether   season.                        in New Jersey during the omicron surge   spread for almost two years with some of
     it is as severe as prior strains. BA.2 is con-  Daily reported deaths have been in the   “suggest that many residents may have   the world’s most stringent health man-
     sidered a “sublineage” of the highly trans-  low double digits and single digits in March   some protection against BA.2,” said Tan.   dates. Hong Kong has reported more than
     missible omicron variant called BA.1, which   after fluctuating between 80 and 110 most   How does NJ compare to the rest   700,000 COVID-19 infections and about
     was responsible for the surge that hit New   days in January. The plummeting metrics   of the US? As with almost every COVID   4,200 deaths, most of them in the past three
     Jersey hard from mid-December through   led Murphy to lift the last two remaining   variant, New Jersey and the rest of the   weeks, according to Reuters.
     mid-January. BA.2 has a different genetic   state mask mandates—in schools and public   Northeast were hit first with BA.2, and   Will other variants emerge?
     sequence from BA.1 and was first dubbed   buildings—in what he calls a return to nor-  are currently outpacing the rest of the   The more times a virus replicates, the
     the “stealth variant” because it wasn’t as   malcy. But New Jersey health officials are   U.S. In the CDC’s Region 2—New Jersey,   more chances it has to mutate into a stron-
     easy to detect.                      uncertain what BA.2 will do.         New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin   ger strain, as seen with delta and omicron.
        How fast is BA.2 spreading in New   “It’s difficult to predict how COVID-19   Islands—39 percent of COVID cases are the   That has some public health experts
     Jersey? Since it was first detected in New   variants or any other emerging respiratory   BA.2 strain, compared to the U.S. average of   worried about the latest surge in Asia and
     Jersey in late January, BA.2 has spread   virus will evolve over time and what their   23.1 percent.          elsewhere.
     quickly in six weeks. It made up 39 percent   specific impacts will be,” said Dr. Tina Tan,   New England is close behind at 38.6 per-  “I’m more worried that the sheer bio-
     of COVID strains in New Jersey and New   the state epidemiologist. “And it is hard to   cent. California, Nevada and Arizona come   mass of virus in these places that are now
     York for the week ending on March 12—a   predict whether a surge in BA.2 will trans-  in third at 27.7 percent. As of March 12,   experiencing major waves of omicron will
     sizable jump from 17.3 percent the prior   late to increased hospitalizations or deaths   Region 2, which includes New Jersey and   lead to the emergence of new strains, of
     week, according to the latest CDC data.   at this time.”                  New York, leads the nation in BA.2 spread.  which we in the U.S. have not yet expe-
        New Jersey’s latest variant report shows   Are vaccines and natural immunity   What’s happening in other parts   rienced,” said Daniel Parker, an infec-
     BA.2 at only 9.1 perdent, but that data is   effective against BA.2? Vaccines were   of the globe? Europe and parts of Asia   tious disease expert at the University of
     old. It uses test results from the four weeks   shown to be as effective against BA.2 as   have seen a rise in cases in the past few   California, Irvine. “That could certainly
     leading up to Febuary 26.            they were against omicron BA.1, according   weeks, but it’s not yet clear how much   lead to spikes in cases like what we saw
        Does BA.2 spread faster? Is it more   to British scientists. That means the vac-  BA.2 is to blame. The United Kingdom,
     lethal? Studies have shown that BA.2 is   cines may not prevent infection, but they   the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland   with delta and omicron.”
     “inherently more transmissible” than omi-  work well in fending off severe illness.   and Italy saw an upswing last week. Many   This article contains information from
     cron BA.1, according to the World Health   If you were infected by omicron BA.1,   European countries have begun treating the   USA Today.
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