‘2nd wave coming now,’ Murphy says, but new COVID-19 deaths remain low
Another day and there is more bad news on the COVID-19 front in New Jersey. But it's tempered with a bit of good news.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday announced an additional 1,477 positive cases have been confirmed, he said the spot positivity rate has climbed to 6.54%, the RT has moved up slightly to 1.25, and hospitalizations are now up to 1,072.
“The second wave of the coronavirus is no longer something off in the future, it is coming, and it is coming now,” he said. “We are now urging you to double-down on the practices that helped us flatten the curve in the first place last spring and throughout the summer.”
Murphy said that includes social distancing, frequently washing hands with soap and water or high-alcohol hand sanitizer and wearing a mask in public.
The governor noted it’s understandable a lot of Garden State residents are suffering from COVID fatigue and doing more socializing in their homes, but he warned this is dangerous.
“This virus has been waiting for us to get lax in our personal responsibilities so that it can come roaring back. We’re at war. We are at war and we knew cold weather would be our enemy,” he said.
“Please folks, I urge you to get back to that level of vigilance that you showed six months ago so that we can beat back this second wave.”
Even with most metrics moving the wrong way, the governor said eight additional coronavirus deaths were recorded in the Garden State on the previous day. Murphy suggested this is because medical treatments have improved and more younger people are becoming infected and not getting as sick.
The governor said for months millions of pieces of personal protective equipment have been stockpiled to make sure the state is as ready as possible.
Health Commissioner Judith Persichill said to combat the second wave, “hotspot” teams are being sent to spike areas around New Jersey, including in Atlantic, Bergen, Hudson, Monmouth, Middlesex and Union counties.
“These teams are focused on increasing testing, contact tracing capacity, education and awareness, and ensuring places are available to isolate and quarantine,” she said.
Persichilli said using this kind of scalpel approach and encouraging residents to keep their distance, mask up and constantly wash hands are the keys to victory.
“When we all work together, we can do better,” she said. “We can beat this virus.”