NJ prepares for ‘twin-demic’ with flu and COVID-19 cases

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said the state is preparing for a double-punch this fall: the flu and the second wave of the coronavirus.

“This year, we are preparing for the possibility of a ‘twin-demic’ — a severe flu season and a resurgence of COVID-19, which could strain health care resources,” she said Monday. “What we don’t want to see is a really bad flu season with a resurgence of COVID. It would stress our systems terribly. But I do have to tell you, that we’re planning for it.”

Flu cases were down in the Southern Hemisphere this year, Persichilli noted, presumably because of COVID-19 precautions. A flu shot won’t protect people from COVID-19, but it can help limit the number of people who need to be hospitalized. 

At his regular coronavirus briefing, Gov. Phil Murphy said he’s not surprised that several schools holding in-person classes — including Washington Township High in Gloucester County — had to revert to remote learning after positive COVID-19 tests appeared.

“We have said, this is not going to be a normal school year and there will be COVID-positive cases,” Murphy said. “That’s almost inevitable.”

Ed Lifshitz, director of the New Jersey Health Department’s Communicable Disease Service, said the state is unaware of any cases in which COVID-19 was transmitted inside schools. 

Rowan University has reported a total of 190 COVID-19 cases on and off campus. Lifshitz said there was no single gathering that they could trace the cases back to, but Rowan is working with the local health department to get the word out about the dangers of socializing in large groups.​