Source: North Jersey.com
New Jersey is one of three states on track to contain COVID-19, a remarkable turnaround for a state that once led the country in per capita deaths, according to the nonprofit Covid Act Now.
The state’s progress to “flatten the curve” of patients admitted to hospitals and dying of complications from the disease comes as states around the country that took less stringent containment measures are hitting peaks in deaths and new cases.
Not only are cases steadily decreasing in New Jersey, but the state’s COVID preparedness “meets or exceeds international standards,” Covid Act Now said. New York and Michigan are the other two states rated by the organization to be on track to contain the coronavirus.
“The great work millions of you have done so far to crush the curves has been working and we need to keep at it,” Gov. Phil Murphy, who has been criticized for reopening the state too slowly, said at his briefing Friday.
New Jersey still leads the nation in some areas. It ranks third in deaths, with 12,835, and fifth in hospitalizations, Murphy said. But those have dropped off dramatically since the peak in mid-April. And other key benchmarks show promise for a state that is among the most densely populated.
The infection rate was 0.82 as of Thursday, which means that for each COVID-positive person they were on average infecting 0.82 other people. Because of that, the total number of cases is shrinking, according to the Covid Act Now, an organziation comprised of technologists, epidemiologists, health experts and public policy leaders.
The positive test rate was 1.8% as of June 18, suggesting that there has been enough testing to detect most new cases and being able to identify and isolate people without resorting to lockdowns.
New Jersey is now in the second of three stages of its reopening from widespread business lockdowns and a stay-at-home order that lasted more than two months. Nail and hair salons, barber shops, spas and tattoo parlors will be allowed to open Monday, which Murphy said will be a significant test since those are the first types of businesses where people closely interact with each other.
We’re going to have to be really, really careful, folks, on this one,” Murphy said. “Everybody has to approach this with a sense of responsibility, not just for themselves but for the greater community.”
Alexandra Altman, a spokeswoman for Murphy, said his “strategic and comprehensive reopening plan” prioritizes public health with policies such as social distancing and masking.
“It is clear that these aggressive efforts, as detailed by Covid Act Now’s analysis, have set New Jersey as a national leader in stemming the tide of the virus as we continue to see a decrease in COVID-19 cases, infection rate, and ventilator use,” Altman said in an email.
Based on the current trends, New Jersey would see a cumulative 29% of the population infected and 13,000 total deaths in 30 days, Covid Act Now said. It projected those figures to rise to 34% and 14,000, respectively, in the same period if all restrictions were lifted.