Key COVID-19 numbers going down — but impact of holiday not yet in numbers

The view from United Airlines’ operating tower.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the news the past four days, here’s what you missed.

COVID-19 numbers going down

Any potential impact from the increased exposure of Christmas gatherings will not be seen for a few more days, but all of the key COVID-19 metrics, including the rate of transmission, are heading in the right direction — downward.

As a reminder, the rate of transmission is how many cases an existing case produces. The number not only has dropped for nearly two weeks, it now is under the desirable 1.0 metric — coming in at 0.95 all weekend.

The numbers of patients in the hospital (3,469), in intensive care units (686) and on ventilators (487) are either dropping or holding steady.

Here are the number of daily cases and reported fatalities:

  • Sunday: 2,329 and 20;
  • Saturday: 4,000 and 19;
  • Friday: 5,095 and 51;
  • Thursday: 4,871 and 80.

The state now has a cumulative total of 461,221 cases and 16,685 confirmed fatalities — with another 1,945 fatalities presumed to be from COVID-19.

New rules on flights from U.K.

As of Monday morning, passengers on flights into Newark Liberty International Airport on flights originating from the U.K. must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test that was taken within 72 hours of departure.

The rule impacts passengers over the age of 5 originating travel from the U.K.; individuals connecting in London’s Heathrow Airport onto a United Airlines flight from another country would be exempt.

United currently is operating four daily flights from London Heathrow to its hubs in Chicago, Newark, Washington and San Francisco, but the airline said it will reduce the number of flights from Heathrow to Newark to two in January.

United said it will offer same-day, pre-flight rapid tests for ticketed passengers at the Collinson testing center located in Terminal 2 at Heathrow.

Murphy said the precaution is necessary due to the second surge of COVID-19.

“As we continue to experience a second wave of COVID-19 cases, it’s critical that we take any and all precautions to mitigate the potential for further transmission,” he said. “While New Jersey continues to strongly discourage all nonessential travel at this time, if unavoidable, international travelers should adhere to CDC guidance for pre- and postflight testing and the recommended self-quarantine period.”

United, in a statement, said it supported the move.

“The health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority. United has been a leader in enacting new policies and innovations designed to keep employees and passengers safer when traveling, including mask mandates and requiring customers to complete a ‘Ready-to-Fly’ checklist before the flight acknowledging they have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days and do not have COVID-related symptoms.”

United is one of the 10 largest employers in New Jersey.