Take a stroll along the Hoboken waterfront, and you’ll see more smiling faces than you have in the past year. No, it’s not just the weather; residents and visitors are opting to go maskless as virtually all COVID-19 restrictions lift, and vaccination numbers increase.
As of June 18, 97 percent of Hoboken residents ages 65 and up; 65 percent of residents over the age of 18; and 58 percent of all residents of any age were provided at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the city.
For the past 30 days, not a single Hoboken resident has been hospitalized with the virus at Hoboken University Medical Center, welcome news considering that in April 2020 during the pandemic’s peak, HUMC cared for 124 COVID-19 positive inpatients in one day, and reportedly treated more than 100 inpatients daily that month.
COVID-19 fatalities continue to remain unchanged at 52 The total number of known COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started is now 5,073 with only nine positive cases reported between June 12 and June 21.
According to the health department’s contact tracing, the vast majority of these latest infections have been from unvaccinated people. While some vaccinated people have still been infected, those cases have been mild or asymptomatic. Mayor Ravi Bhalla pointed to this as further proof that the vaccines are working as intended not only preventing the majority of cases, but at the very least, preventing severe cases and hospitalizations.
“There is no doubt that the positive trends are a result of the hard work and sacrifices of so many in our community,” said Bhalla in an update to residents.
“The choices you made – from wearing a mask, avoiding large gatherings, waiting to see friends and family until it was safe to do so, and most recently, getting vaccinated – certainly saved lives and are helping us return back to normal.”
Step right up
To help bolster the city’s vaccination numbers the city is continuing to partner with local providers to offer walk-in vaccination clinics for all residents 12 or older.
Better Life Pharmacy will host a walk-up vaccine clinic on June 24 at the Hoboken Housing Authority at 221 Jackson Street from 3 to 7 p.m. Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna vaccines will be offered. No appointment is needed.
Carepoint will host popup vaccine clinics on June 24, June 29, and July 1 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Hoboken Terminal. No appointment is necessary. The Moderna vaccine will be offered for anyone 18 or older.
Although Hoboken has made progress vaccinating its residents, experts continue to caution that unvaccinated people may soon be at a higher risk of contracting the virus due to the new Delta variant.
First identified in India, the Delta variant is one of several “variants of concern,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNN last week that she anticipates Delta will become “the predominant variant in the months ahead.”
The variant, which is the dominant strain in Europe, is substantially more transmissible and is associated with increased disease severity and risk of hospitalization, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci at a White House briefing on June 22.
“The Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate Covid-19,” he said, adding that vaccines work against this variant.
Mayor Bhalla continued to urge residents to get vaccinated.
“It’s the best way we can combat this new strain and prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our region,” he said. “And if you’re already vaccinated, I encourage you to reach out to any friends or family that have not yet been vaccinated and let them know that the vaccine is safe, effective, and free.’
To schedule a COVID-19 test go to www.hobokennj.gov/medicineman.