More than 35,000 people in New Jersey likely had active coronavirus infections last week on the day before Thanksgiving, according to projections from a group of experts from Columbia University.
The numbers come from a team led by epidemiologist Jeffrey Shaman. They projected that New Jersey would add 4,579 reported cases on Wednesday, and that number ended up being 4,565.
The group says that of the 35,160 probable active infections, many will never be counted because people won’t show symptoms or will fear having to miss work or be isolated from friends and family.
The largest number of active infections come in the state’s big population centers. Bergen, Passaic, Union and Essex counties lead the list.
However, after adjusting for population, while Passaic County is still at the top, two South Jersey hotspots — Salem and Cape May — jump up near the top of the list.
On the whole, the researchers say New Jersey has 395.8 active infections per 100,000 people.
The group led by Shaman generates the figures using county-level data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and USAFACTS based on a range of scenarios describing a variety of changes in transmission rates.
“It’s bad; it’s really, really bad,” Shaman said last week to The Washington Post. “We’re running into Thanksgiving now and that’s only going to make it worse. We’re going to go through a lot of people being infected between now and the end of the year, unfortunately.”