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COVID-19 Drives NJ’s Death Rate to Highest Level in 75 Years

Posted in: College News and Events, Public Health

While the numbers aren’t finalized yet,  New Jersey’s death rate in 2020 was its worst in 75 years, dating back to World War II, as the coronavirus overpowered years of advances in public health.

The first death from COVID-19 in the state occurred on March 10, 2020. Figures as of early March 2021 show 21,238 deaths in New Jersey confirmed as COVID-related over the past 12 months and another 2,397 deaths probably caused by the virus.

Dr. Stephanie Silvera, Professor in the Public Health department, whose brother is a medical historian who studies the 1918 flu pandemic, said the death toll has been incredible.

“We were probably two people who thought it could probably be this bad. I didn’t expect that it would necessarily be going on this long. I was thinking more like six months,” Dr. Silvera said.

She added, “I would say the death rate that we’ve seen in New Jersey is higher than I had hoped it would be. We had opportunities where we probably could have kept the numbers a little bit lower. It’s a shame that we weren’t able to do that.”