NEW JERSEY — Although New Jersey has made great progress in mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, the state reported 2,000 new cases within the past four days, Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday.
"We're now back to where we were a month ago” in the daily number of new cases, he added.
“We cannot go backwards."
The governor said indoor and outdoor gatherings, particularly house parties, are partly to blame.
“This is no time for anyone to be vying for induction into the Knucklehead Hall of Fame. Coronavirus is more easily transmitted indoors. Crowded indoor house parties are not smart or safe,” the governor said.
A cluster of cases in Middletown was linked back to a house party teenagers attended. About 55 new cases have been linked back to the party, most of which are people between ages 14 and 19.
In Jackson, police also broke up a house party that had more than 700 guests.
On Long Beach Island, more than two dozen lifeguards in two boroughs have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a party in Surf City.
A graduation party in Cape May County led to 46 cases among New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents between the ages of 16 and 23 while an outbreak among Rutgers football players reported 15 positive cases.
These examples account for more than 125 new cases of COVID-19 “every single of those cases has the potential to infect more people — their grandparents, their parents, their friends, loved ones. If any of their contacts have underlying conditions... the result could be fatal,” according to Health Commissioner Judith Perischilli.
The percentage of cases that fall between the ages of 18 to 29 continues to increase, she said.
For the first three weeks of July, the rate of cases among that age group was at 24 to 33% compared to 12% in April and 22% in June, Perischilli said.
Murphy and Perischilli both reiterated the fact just because you’re younger, it does not mean they are not susceptible to the virus.
New Jersey reported 489 new cases Wednesday, bringing the state’s number of total cases to 180,766.
The state has also reported a 13,923 death toll as well as 1,875 in probable deaths, Gov. Murphy said.