Paige Fanneron, News Editor
COVID-19 has taken the world by surprise, with the United States seeing a rapid growth in cases starting in early March of 2020. Numbers were slowly declining due to social distancing guidelines and many schools in the U.S. opting for a virtual school year; however, with the holiday season coming to a close, another large spike in cases is expected to roll in. On Thursday, Jan. 7, alone, there were 6,314 reported new cases and 123 reported new deaths in the state of New Jersey, according to NJspotlight.com.
Due to poor testing availability when the outbreak first surged in the U.S., it’s likely there were more cases of COVID-19 than what was reported. The seven day average number of cases is now 13% higher than what it was a week ago, with the monthly average now 87% higher than what it was back in early November. On Jan. 7, the state’s transmissions rates, or the rate at which the virus is being spread from person to person, rose to 0.99. The positivity rate, the rate of COVID-19 tests that are positive, was 9.8% on Wednesday, Jan. 6, according to coronavirus.jhu.edu. However, the death toll continues to increase, and as of Jan. 7, had hit a total of 17,587 deaths in NJ and a total of 1,908 probable fatalities, according to NJspotlight.com.
There has also been a problem with rising cases within New Jersey schools. State officials confirmed 18 new outbreaks in schools throughout the state. Since the beginning of the school year, there have been a total of 88 schools that have confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks and 388 in-school transmission cases in New Jersey. While these may seem like large numbers, they are in fact lower than officials had predicted when students started to go back to in person learning, according to NJ.com.
In order to try and keep up with the new cases, Gov. Phil Murphy has put in new restrictions for New Jerseyans to follow. Murphy has limited the capacity of people allowed in outdoor gatherings from 150 people to 25 people. According to NJ.com, after announcing the new COVID-19 cases, Murphy said, “We cannot just let this virus run rampant and have its way with us. We have to fight to protect every resident, every family, every community. And we have to fight to protect our health care system and the tremendous front-line health care workers.”
Designed by: Jack Kalsched