Numbers: More than 200K vaccinated (pretty good) — and RT up to 1.08 (not so good)

New Jersey reported more than 11,000 COVID-19 cases this weekend, but it was a much smaller number that is of bigger concern.

On Sunday, the state reported the rate of transmission to be 1.08 — well above the 1.0 mark that is desired. (The rate of transmission is the number of new cases an existing case may spawn, meaning anything over 1.0 is an indication the spread is intensifying.) On Saturday, the RT was 1.05.

The state now cumulatively has 528,054 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Gov. Phil Murphy also reported 134 COVID-19 related fatalities, bringing the confirmed total up to 17,827. Of course, that number does not include the 2,059 fatalities the state said were likely COVID-related — meaning the state’s total is 19,886.

New Jersey is all but certain to pass 20,000 COVID-19 deaths in the coming week. Even more frightening, the state likely may already have, as so many early cases were likely not detected.

Other notes from the weekend:

Commerce secretary designee

Murphy was excited that Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is the commerce secretary designee. The leaders of New Jersey and Rhode Island (and all the other Northeast governors) have worked together throughout the pandemic.

Murphy said he spoke with Raimondo about how they can work together to uplift small businesses as well as leading on clean energy initiatives.

Final word

Murphy ordered that all U.S. and New Jersey flags be flown at half-staff starting Monday in honor of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, a native of South River who died of injuries sustained while defending the Capitol from violent insurrectionists.

Murphy also put out hope that those whose actions led to the deaths of Sicknick and five others will be held responsible.

“Officer Sicknick gave his life protecting the United States Capitol, and, by extension, our very democracy, from violent insurrection. His needless murder at the hands of a mob bent on overthrowing the Constitution he had dedicated his life to upholding is shocking. It is my fervent hope that the rioters whose actions directly contributed to his death are quickly identified and brought to justice.”