This Previously "Safe" State Just Saw a Surge in COVID Cases

The state saw a 112 percent increase in new cases—just a week after its lowest numbers ever.

States across the South and Southwest of the United States are witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases so severe they're beginning to surpass New York, the former global epicenter of the disease. But after battling back initially high case numbers, the Northeast has experienced some of the lowest infection rates in the country, with most states managing to keep their cases in check. Unfortunately, one state that was very recently considered "safe" with declining numbers has seen a surge in COVID cases: New Jersey. The state's latest reported numbers show their new cases jumping by 112 percent in just seven days.

Coincidentally, the surge of 2,066 new cases comes just one week after New Jersey had posted its lowest-ever seven day average of just 224 new cases. But despite the previously encouraging figures, the state has publicly struggled to enforce its social distancing mandates and bans on large gatherings, which are currently limited to fewer than 100 people indoors and 500 for outdoor events.

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On July 25, a party of 700 people that was being held at an Airbnb property in the town of Jackson took five hours for local police to break up, CNN reported. "Come on folks! Come on," Gov. Phil Murphy said of the gathering during a coronavirus news briefing the following day. "That's needlessly putting men and women in uniform and their families at risk."

Atlantic City boardwalk and ferris wheel in new Jersey

The popular summer community of Long Beach Island was also hit with a surge in cases related to a large gathering when 30 local lifeguards tested positive for COVID-19 after attending an after-work party. The figures reported between the two also uphold the warnings of medical experts that, as in the South, this surge of cases is made up mostly of younger people congregating for summer parties, The New York Times reports.

The governor's office responded to the news by pointing out that even with the surge, the state's daily new reported cases per 100,000 people is still one of the lowest in the nation, and that a lag in testing had been partly to blame for the stark uptick, The Times reports.

State officials do not appear to be taking the news lightly, however. "Over the past four months, we have crushed the curve, but folks, this is sobering," Murphy said on July 29. "We are now back—plus or minus—to where we were a month ago in the daily number of new cases. We can't go backward. We can't afford to go backward." And for more surprising COVID surges, This Once "Safe" Destination Is Now Having a COVID Outbreak.

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Zachary Mack
Zachary covers beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He's the owner of Alphabet City Beer Co. in New York City and is a Certified Cicerone. Read more
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