NJ Top News 4/16 – Murphy Extends Pandemic Powers for 14th Time
As New Jersey was seeing a spike in the number of positive COVID tests and the rate of transmission had steadily climbed above 1.0, Gov. Phil Murphy and State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli issued a dire warning that a third wave surge was coming.
Murphy predicted a "long, hot summer," as they showed computer models that predicted infections would continue to spike through mid-may, potentially reaching 8,000 new cases per day with hospitalizations approaching 3,000.
Just the opposite has happened.
The rate of transmission has been steadily falling all week. At 0.92, the r/t shows the outbreak is contracting. (Anything above 1.0 indicates an expansion.) Hospitalizations have stabilized, and with more than 300 discharged on Wednesday, have fallen below 2,300.
When the governor released the projections, New Jersey was averaging about 4,400 positive COVID tests per day. The models said we were headed to as many as 8,000 new tests per day. On Wednesday, the state reported 3,400 new tests.
New Jersey is also on pace to far surpass the governor's goal of 4.7 million adults fully vaccinated by the Fourth of July. New Jersey has one of the most robust vaccination programs in the nation. Based on data posted to the state's COVID dashboard, the state is on pace to exceed 6 million people fully vaccinated by Memorial Day: 3,644,419 have gotten their first vaccine dose, and should receive their second dose in the next 30 days. Added to the 2,334,968 people the state says are already fully vaccinated, and the state could have 70% of the total population fully vaccinated. That far exceeds the goal Murphy said was needed to ease remaining restrictions.
Despite the progress New Jersey has made with the pace of vaccinations and key metrics trending down, Murphy has extended the public health emergency for another 30 days. It also extends his sweeping executive power to control virtually all facets of daily life for residents and businesses.
Murphy first declared a public health emergency on March 9, 2020. He has now renewed it every month for 14 straight months. In a news release, Murphy justified the extension by saying, "Our vaccination program is expanding vigorously and quickly, but COVID-19 remains a threat."
Earlier this week he brushed off criticism from a growing number of Republican and Democratic state lawmakers who claim the health emergency is no longer necessary.
More N.J. Top News:
- Vaccinations are surging, COVID cases are dropping but reopening plans remain on "pause."
- Pfizer CEO says annual COVID shots are likely.
- FDU says all students will need to be vaccinated to return to campus in the fall.
- Gov. Murphy's pandemic restrictions claim another landmark business in NJ.
- N.J. is slowly adding back jobs but still lags behind the rest of the nation.
- Immigrant rights groups demand a $2,000 stimulus payment and $600 a week in benefits for those in the US illegally.
- New Jersey's top cop worries legal weed laws will cause "de-policing."
- Lumber prices triple, reach record highs as supply chains are disrupted.
- Gov. Murphy proposes a dozen new gun control measures.
- Lawmakers want to make a temporary smoking ban in casinos permanent.
- Seasonal beach badges sell out in 10 minutes in Asbury Park.
- Minor league baseball ready to welcome fans back into ballparks. Here's how it will be different.
- Sad news: Beloved tiger Caesar, has died at the Popcorn Park Zoo.