An increasing number of COVID-19 cases can be traced to indoor house parties, including 50 new positive cases betwen the ages of 14 and 19, Governor Phil Murphy lamented this afternoon.
“I get it,” said the governor, grim with the news and trying to remain upbeat. “We want to blow off some steam with friends.”
People want to escape the heat in air conditioning.
But “We simply cannot continue to have crowded house parties,” he added. “Just because you’re younger, it is not an excuse to let your guard down.”
Hundreds of people crammed into a house without face coverings risk undoing the COVID-19 ground gained in this state, the governor said. This week, “We have reported 2,000 new COVID-19 cases,” Murphy said. “We are back to where we were a month ago.”
He mentioned teens gathered in Middletown, and an infamous Jackson house party attended by 700 people. “This is no time to be inducted into the knucklehead hall of fame,” the governor said.
He reported another 489 COVID-19 overnight cases, 18 COVID-19-related deaths, and a rate of transmission uptick to 2.42%.
“We are not out of the woods yet,” Murphy said.
Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli put an exclamation on the crisis.
“Even smaller gathers can lead to cases,” said Persichilli. “There was an outbreak among Rutgers football players with 15 of them testing positive.”
She mentioned a house party in Cape May, a small Father’s Day gathering, and other scattered anecdotal accounts, all controbutin to an upsurge in COVID-19. “If you’re having a gathering, please hold it outside,” she urged.
The news came as the U.S. approached 150,000 COVID-19 deaths Wednesday with no slowdown in sight, according to USA Today. Florida reported it’s largest one-day death total yet while California, Texas and Florida were among states suffering their largest one-week death toll.
In Washington, President Trump was trying to figure out why Dr. Anthony Fauci has such a high approval rating and “nobody likes me.” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been a top adviser to the Trump administration but has not always agreed with the president on tactics to curb the outbreak.
“For the most part we have done what he and others …. have recommended,” Trump said Tuesday. “He’s got this high approval rating, so why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect, and the administration, with respect to the virus?”