N.J. in ‘Dangerous Place’ as Virus Transmission Rate Leaps

N.J. in ‘Dangerous Place’ as Virus Transmission Rate Leaps

July 31, 2020

New Jersey’s virus transmission rate jumped to 1.35 and Governor Phil Murphy warned of rising cases due to a lack of compliance with mask and social distancing rules.

The state, where cases peaked months ago, is in “a very dangerous place,” Murphy said at a Trenton news conference.

A transmission rate above 1 means that the virus is spreading. New Jersey had been as low as 0.62 recently, but it reached 1.14 on Tuesday, the highest in at least 13 weeks. On March 21, when Murphy closed nonessential businesses and ordered residents to stay home, each infected person was spreading the virus to at least 5 others.

Murphy criticized hosts of well-publicized house parties this month in his hometown of Middletown, and another with more than 700 guests in Jackson. At least one gathering has contributed to the spread, state officials have said.

“Given the recent data on cases we anticipate, unfortunately, that it will go higher in the days ahead,” Murphy said. “The numbers are setting off alarms that we take very seriously.”

New Jersey has continued to forbid indoor dining, gym workouts and other activities. Murphy warned that he may return to stricter rules to slow the virus’ spread that he’d relaxed in recent weeks as cases declined. He didn’t go into specifics, but was especially critical of those who fail to use masks, and hosts and guests of parties that exceed his indoor and outdoor crowd caps.

“Consider this as being put on notice: We will not tolerate these nonchalant, devil-may-care attitudes any longer,” Murphy said.

The state reported 699 positive cases in the past 24 hours, an increase of 0.4%, higher than the recent average.

Though the state reported 10 new virus-related deaths confirmed via lab tests on Friday, those were over a series of days, and none was in the past 24 hours, Murphy said. That marked the first day without a New Jersey virus fatality since March 10, he said.

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