A year ago, the number of Americans known to have died from COVID-19 was still only a handful and New York City had just confirmed its first case.
On March 4, 2020, when New Jersey’s first case was confirmed in Bergen County, few knew what to expect. Everyone was told to wash their hands but, at first, mask-wearing was discouraged.
The first New Jersey death followed a few days later, hammering home the seriousness of this new illness. Gov. Phil Murphy closed bars and restaurants on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, because these likely would have been locations for what now are known as superspreader events. On March 21, he essentially closed the state.
Within a month of that first case, New Jersey would log more than 34,000 infections and 846 deaths. The virus would go on to ravage residents of long-term care and veterans’ homes. After ebbing over the summer, a second viral wave would hit the state in the fall.
Today, New Jersey continues to have the highest COVID-19 death rate in the nation, more than any country: 262 per 100,000 residents. The known infection rate for residents is fast approaching 10%.
Still, as the state slowly gets more vaccine doses and expands vaccine eligibility, there is hope. To date, more than 15% of New Jerseyans have received at least one dose of vaccine, with about 700,000 fully vaccinated.
The timeline below tracks some of the most significant points of the first year of the pandemic in New Jersey. You can control the timeline using the left and right arrows or the slider below it.