CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) — As the U.S. closes in on 1 million deaths from COVID-19, reported cases are rising in the Delaware Valley.
“We had it in our house, but we had the shots, so we were asymptomatic,” said Melvin Thompson of Camden, New Jersey.
Thompson’s family just had COVID-19 last month, and he says he’s still being careful.
For many, dealing with COVID has become a normal part of life.
“Maybe it’s like instead of cold and flu season. It’s cold and flu and COVID season,” said Mark Nitzberg of Haddon Township.
While current cases are nowhere near the omicron surge in the winter, cases are going up throughout the tri-state area.
In the City of Philadelphia, reported COVID cases have increased 41% over the past two weeks.
In the tri-state area, reported case counts are up in the last two weeks, showing a 22% in Pennsylvania, 67% in New Jersey and 41% in Delaware.
Many say they aren’t surprised.
“People be out at functions. Everybody stopped wearing masks. Nothing is mandatory no more,” said Shareema McCargo of Camden.
This week, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health is encouraging, but not mandating, masks for indoor crowded spaces, as many prepare for proms and graduations.
In New Jersey, Virtua Health’s five hospitals have seen an increase in COVID patients recently.
The Garden State overall has seen a 39% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past two weeks.
Virtua’s infection control officer Dr. Martin Topiel is urging people to take precautions, especially around high-risk people.
“We still need to mask in indoor environments. We still need to get boosters. These are the things that are going to protect us, particularly if you know you’re heading into a higher risk situation,” said Topiel.
He says new variants evading immunity and a lack of mask wearing is leading to rising numbers in their hospitals.
According to John Hopkins University, more than 998,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19.
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