What to Know
- Thirteen children are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in New Jersey, with two of them in intensive care, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday during his press conference.
- Currently, 2.6% of hospital admissions pertaining to COVID-19 cases are children, compared to 0.8% in January, New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said.
- Overall, 115,000 children under 18 years old were diagnosed with COVID in New Jersey, the governor said, adding that of those seven have passed away. Meanwhile, nationwide, there have been 72,000 cases in children under 18 years old for the last week of July -- a staggering 84 percent increase over the prior week.
Thirteen children are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in New Jersey, with two of them in intensive care, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday during his press conference. Another sign that the fight against the coronavirus is far from over.
New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said there is "concern physicians around the state are expressing about the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations and the threat the highly transmissible delta variant poses, particularly to our children," adding that there still continues to be an increase of COVID-19 cases among children under the age of 18.
Currently, 2.6% of hospital admissions pertaining to COVID-19 cases are children, compared to 0.8% in January, Persichilli said.
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According to Persichilli, even though there is an increase of cases among children, states with a higher rate of unvaccinated residents -- like Florida and Texas -- are seeing a more drastic spike in symptomatic pediatric COVID cases being admitted into hospitals sicker and with more serious symptoms.
Overall, 115,000 children under 18 years old were diagnosed with COVID in New Jersey, the governor said, adding that of those seven have passed away. Meanwhile, nationwide, there have been 72,000 cases in children under 18 years old for the last week of July -- a staggering 84 percent increase over the prior week.
Children who recuperate from COVID-19 are also experiencing long-haul symptoms, like fatigue, trouble concentrating and brain fog, according to Persichilli. Additionally, they could also suffer from multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, according to the commissioner. The CDC describes this condition as one "where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs." Since the start of the pandemic, the state has recorded more than 130 of such cases, and children "generally recover" although it can be a "slow" journey, Persichilli said.
"All these developments point to an urgent need for everyone to get vaccinated, especially for parents to take their 12- to 17-year-olds to be vaccinated as soon as possible," she said.
There's still no timeline as to when a vaccine might receive emergency-use authorization for children under 12, which is partly why many states and cities across the country, including New York City and New Jersey, are requiring students and staff to mask up for the start of the year whether they're vaccinated or not.
New York City and New Jersey Vaccine Providers
Click on each provider to find more information on scheduling appointments for the COVID-19 Vaccine.
Data: City of New York, State of New Jersey • Nina Lin / NBC
In New Jersey, students K-12 and staff must also wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, Murphy announced last week.
Murphy said Friday the requirement will be lifted again when the state's core viral rates take a significant and sustained turn for the better.
Nationally, the number of children under age 5 hospitalized for COVID tripled in the first half of July, CDC data shows. The uptick is stoking fresh concerns about safety in schools, which won't have a remote learning option when they reopen next month.
In New Jersey, fully vaccinated people accounted for 18.5% of all new COVID cases in the period July 20 through the 26, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday. More importantly: Those cases accounted for 3% of all new hospitalizations.
Murphy pointed to the data Monday as evidence that vaccines work, but for many, the fact that even 3% of hospitalized COVID patients were already vaccinated is a worry -- and so is the direction in which the breakthrough cases are trending.
That 3% representation of immunized people hospitalized with the virus in the period July 20 through July 26 is up substantially from the .004% representation in the period up to July 26. The 0.14% representation of new COVID cases within that group leaping to 18.5% also may raise questions about vaccine efficacy vs. delta.
No new universal mask mandate has been imposed in any of the tri-states or nationally. New York and New Jersey both strongly encourage masking in high-risk areas in alignment with CDC guidance, while Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order empowering cities and towns to reinstate mask mandates if they so choose. So far, Norwalk is one of the biggest cities in the state to do so.
"These past 17 months have called upon us to be a little bit more selfless and a bit less selfish. A few of our fellow New Jerseyans could use a reminder that this is not a 'me' moment -- this is an 'us' moment," Murphy said regarding the importance of following COVID guidelines.