⚫ High levels of flu in New Jersey have dropped dramatically

⚫ This year’s flu shot is a pretty good match for the strain that’s circulating

⚫ NJ’s so-called “tripledemic” threat is also fading, but there’s a warning

Three weeks ago influenza levels were high in all parts of New Jersey, and it seemed like everybody you knew was getting sick, but that’s no longer the case.

According to Dr. Ed Lifshitz, the director of the communicable disease service at the New Jersey Health Department, flu levels have started to nosedive.

“Overall this week we are reporting that New Jersey has slipped from moderate into low levels, with higher levels, meaning moderate still being seen in Northern part of the state, but clearly we’re in a downward trend,” he said.

He pointed out this flu season has been very unusual, with high levels of influenza in all parts of Jersey in mid-November, which is early.

Flu season may come roaring back

Lifshitz said flu activity usually peaks in early February instead of dropping off dramatically like it is now, but that doesn’t mean flu season is over.

Ill woman at home
Piotr Marcinski ThinkStock

“Flu seasons are notoriously unpredictable, certainly the hope is it will be leaving and not coming back, but unfortunately it can, and that’s exactly what did happen last year.”

In March, influenza levels tailed off but then shot back up in early April.

What kind of flu is circulating?

He said the vast majority of influenza is type A, which is a close match to the vaccine that’s out there.

“While we do not yet have all the data on vaccine efficacy, we do expect that the vaccine should be working reasonably well," he said.

He said the bad news about H3N2 influenza, the type that is circulating right now, is that "it tends to be more severe than some of the other types of flu, which might be why we’ve had a worse season so far.”

Lifshitz said the groups at highest risk from influenza are the elderly, young children and those who are immunocompromised.

IherPhoto GettyImages
IherPhoto GettyImages

The so-called “tripledemic” threat seems to be fading

He noted as flu cases diminish in the Garden State, RSV is also fading, and the new XBB COVID variant, nicknamed “the Kraken,” does not seem to be as sinister as had been feared.

When it comes to COVID, it is basically impossible to predict what will come next

He adds even though influenza activity is on a downward trajectory, “we still do encourage those people to go ahead and get their flu shot if they haven’t gotten it yet. Just because you haven’t gotten it yet doesn’t mean that you might not get it.”

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.


OMG! Cutest pets in New Jersey!

Is your pet cuter? Enter the New Jersey 101.5 Cutest Pets Contest until Feb. 12, 2023. Here are some entries so far.

50 Most Popular Chain Restaurants in America

YouGov investigated the most popular dining brands in the country, and Stacker compiled the list to give readers context on the findings. Read on to look through America's vast and divergent variety of restaurants—maybe you'll even find a favorite or two.

13 Musicians Who've Served in the US Military

More From Rock 104.1