Omicron In US: US state New Jersey is witnessing a surge in Covid cases.
Hospitalizations for Covid-19 jumped 60% from a week ago in New Jersey, the most densely populated US state. The 3,604 patients numbered just 122 short of those a year ago, before vaccinations were widely available.
The state reported 38 Covid-related deaths in hospitals over 24 hours.
While cases surged, to a single-day record of 27,975, some mayors enacted precautions beyond what Governor Phil Murphy has required statewide. Newark, the state's largest city, will require New Year's Eve revelers in public places to show vaccination proof, and on Jan. 11 will broaden the mandate to places including restaurants and concert venues.
Hoboken, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, on Wednesday started requiring masks inside public buildings and businesses as some restaurants and bars were forced to close due to staff illness or exposure. Mayors in New Brunswick, Paterson and Montclair earlier announced masking rules.
For two weeks starting on Saturday, an East Orange site will offer free testing to all New Jersey residents amid a shortage of at-home kits. Registration details are here. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-run program will have capacity for 1,000 nasal swabs per day, with results in about 24 hours.
Prior to the surge in cases this month, New Jersey's single-day record was 6,922, in January.