“The biggest risk factor in continuing to get sick or hospitalized or die from COVID-19 is not being vaccinated,” said Dr. Shereef Elnahal, President and CEO of University Hospital, Newark. And he said, “They are younger, which means that it is a more severe virus.” That’s the high-risk profile doctors see when another COVID-19 patient arrives in New Jersey emergency rooms nowadays.
While the coronavirus is in retreat across the state — caseloads and hospital cases have plummeted — COVID-19 still killed more than 100 people in the state so far this month alone. A very small number of fully vaccinated people do get COVID-19 but most recover easily. Hospital executives say that achieving herd immunity could help “knock out” the disease. But without a lot more people getting vaccinated, the virus is likely to linger in the community, and possibly spike again.