This Is the Only State Where COVID Cases Have Been Dropping for 2 Weeks

While many states are in the "red zone," one northern state seems headed in the right direction.

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COVID-19 cases are surging across the country and it's not just states like Florida, Arizona, California, and Texas that have made headlines over the past two weeks. Over 75 percent of all states are now showing an increase in COVID cases, according to The New York Times. But in this sea of grim news about what seems to be the U.S.'s losing battle with the coronavirus, there is one state that appears to have a current handle on the pandemic: New Jersey.

In comparing the week of July 5-12 to the following week July 12-19, only nine states had fewer new COVID cases week over week, as Reid Wilson, author of Epidemic: Ebola & the Global Scramble to Prevent the Next Killer Outbreak, pointed out on Twitter. A comparison from the prior week, June 28-July 5 to July 5-12, showed that only six states saw fewer coronavirus cases week over week. And New Jersey is the only state on both lists.

As reported by NJ.com, New Jersey went from 2,220 cases the week of June 28-July 5 to 1,896 cases from July 5-12, a 15 percent drop. The following week, there was an additional 22 percent drop when new cases fell to 1,485. (Their data was procured from the COVID Tracking Project, which is operated by The Atlantic.)

Atlantic city waterline aerial view. AC is a tourist city in New Jersey famous for its casinos, boardwalks, and beaches
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It's a remarkable turnaround for the Garden State, especially since it was among the earliest—and worst—hotspots when the pandemic hit the United States in early March. New Jersey saw its first recorded case of COVID-19 on March 2 and by March 9, Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency.

The neighboring state of New York's leader, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, may have received more press, but Murphy has quietly overseen a very effective approach in dealing with the virus. When the number of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey surpassed 1,000 on March 21, he announced a statewide stay-at-home order, which required all non-essential businesses to be closed indefinitely by 9 p.m. that night.

Since then, Murphy and the state's public health officials have continued a cautious approach in dealing with the virus and reopening, often in conjunction with New York and Connecticut.

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In late Spring, Murphy faced hundreds of angry residents who took part in "Reopen NJ" protests across the state. Residents were upset with the governor's mandate to extend the closure of non-essential retail businesses. But Murphy stayed the course, telling CNN on May 25 that the protests weren't swaying his decision-making. As new cases started to abate, New Jersey's stay-at-home order was eventually lifted on June 9. The state is currently in phase 2 of reopening.

According to the CDC, at the time of this article's publication, with over 170,000 cases, New Jersey has the 5th highest total number of confirmed COVID cases in the United States since the pandemic began. If surges in new cases continue in a number of other states, however, New Jersey could easily fall in the ranking. And for more on states having the opposite experience, check out 10 States That Were "Irresponsible" About Coronavirus, Study Says.

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