New Jersey Virus Transmission Rate Creeps Up Again 


New Jersey’s statewide virus transmission rate inched up again as Governor Phil Murphy continued to ease business closings.

The state, which has been starting to recover from an onslaught that’s taken almost 13,000 lives, reported that each person who was infected passed along the virus to an average 0.86 others. On Tuesday that figure, called the transmission rate, was 0.81. Less than two weeks ago, it was 0.64, a mark of immense progress since March, when each positive virus case sickened five other people.

”It’s concerning if it turns into a trend,” Murphy said Wednesday at his press briefing. “A one-day or even two- or three-day does not make a trend.” A seven-increase, he said, would be noteworthy.

In eight counties, the transmission rate was greater than 1.0, and 10 counties have reported at least a 50% jump in the past week, according to a Twitter post from Murphy.

“There are NO EXCUSES to let up with social distancing and face coverings,” Murphy said in his tweet.

Some increase was expected in New Jersey, which trails only New York for number of cases and deaths among U.S. states, as the state started to ease business, retail and personal services closings ordered on March 21. But as cases surge in Southern and Western U.S. states, Murphy joined the Connecticut and New York governors today to mandate 14-day quarantines of visitors from states with a rate of positive tests for infections above 10%.

New Jersey reported 12,995 virus deaths and 169,892 cases on Wednesday, each increases of well below 1% from the day before. While new hospitalizations are down 86% from the peak, they are up 11% since June 9, according to Murphy. Its own infection rate was 2.83% as of June 20, up from 2.6% on June 11.

Murphy announced the July 2 re-openings of libraries, museums, aquariums, bowling alleys, batting cages, shooting ranges and arcades. Gyms and fitness centers starting July 6 may open for individual training. New Jersey Transit, which lost 90% of its rail passengers amid stay-at-home orders, will return to weekday train and light-rail service on July 6, Murphy said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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