New Jersey's Rate Of COVID-19 Transmission Highest Since April

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork)New Jersey officials announced new restrictions on Monday to curb the number of house parties, after an alarming spike of COVID-19 infections.

The rate of transmission climbed to 1.48, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported. That means, on average, each positive case leads to nearly one-and-a-half new cases. Anything greater than one is cause for concern.

Gov. Phil Murphy said house parties, from Sussex County to the Jersey Shore, are to blame for the recent spike.

“We cannot be any clearer that indoor gatherings, especially large, crowded ones where social distancing isn’t practiced and face masks aren’t worn, they just are not safe,” said Murphy.

MORE: Gov. Murphy Puts New Jersey On Notice, Warns Residents To Heed Coronavirus Guidelines As Cases Spike; ‘The Alarms Are Going Off’

In response to what the governor has been calling “knucklehead behavior,” he tightened the restrictions on indoor gatherings, limiting them to 25 percent capacity with a maximum of 25 people allowed.

The new restrictions apply to house parties, but not weddings, funerals, memorial services, religious or political activities protected by the First Amendment.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Murphy praised Airbnb for removing dozens of New Jersey listings, the so-called problem properties where large house parties were held.

“This is a welcome step to not only restore some sanity and peace to neighborhoods, but to help us curtail the dangerous actions of a few that may put many people and entire communities at risk,” said the governor.

RELATED STORY: Airbnb Shuts Down Dozens Of New Jersey Properties After Large Parties

The state’s rate of transmission hasn’t been this high since April 6, when New Jersey was experiencing the worst of the pandemic.

“By the way, early April, that’s not a fun period for us. Easter was the 12th. Plus or minus those days, we had three [hundred], 400 people dying everyday in hospitals,” said Murphy.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

On a more positive note, the total number of daily positive cases in New Jersey has gone down – just 264 reported on August 2, fewer than half the number reported on July 30.

Murphy was also asked if he thought the spike marked the start of a second wave of coronavirus. Right now, the governor said, he doesn’t believe the state has made it through the first.

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