COURT HOUSE - June 30: June ends at a point of growing uncertainty over the general direction of the pandemic.
Four northeast states, including New Jersey, continue to see encouraging health metrics: yet, the nation is witnessing rapid growth in new cases, so much so that when the European Union published a list of the 15 countries from which international travelers will be allowed starting tomorrow, the United States was not on that list.
In Cape May County, the numbers remain promising. Sadly, however, fatalities increased by three today, a 94-year-old woman, from Dennis Township, along with two male residents of Lower Township, ages 88 and 78.
The county ends June with 755 total cases, 594 individuals off quarantine, 93 active cases and 68 fatalities. The county report also noted three positive cases today of out-of-county individuals who are not included in the county numbers.
Gov. Phil Murphy said the state saw another 461 new cases overnight with 47 additional fatalities. State totals now stand at 171,667 cases and 15,035 fatalities, including the 1,854 probable COVID-19 fatalities the state recently announced.
Murphy expressed some concern over trends in one of the major metrics his administration has used in making decisions about reopening. The rate of transmission (RT) is a number that represents the rate at which each newly infected person is likely to pass along the virus to another individual.
The governor has openly worried about the metric inching up as he has permitted more activities to resume. Today, Murphy said the metric stood at 0.88.
One week ago on June 23, that rate was 0.81. On June 15, when Murphy officially announced the start of Stage 2 of his recovery plan, the rate was 0.70.
For comparison, when the governor issued his stay-at-home order March 21, the RT was at 5.31, for every newly infected person, one could expect more than another five infections.
Close to home, the growth in new cases in Cumberland County has been out of proportion to the size of the population. Cumberland stands seventh among the state’s 21 counties, in terms of cases per 100,000 of the population. Across the bay, Delaware will close bars in beach towns in advance of the July 4th holiday weekend due to rising cases counts.
In New Jersey, Murphy rescinded his Executive Order 157, which would have reopened indoor dining at 25% of capacity. The state also doubled the number of other states whose travelers to New Jersey would be advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. The list now includes 16 states.
The county will greet the Independence Day weekend with a great deal of uncertainty about the breadth and speed of the reopening of New Jersey’s economy.