In the middle of a media event to announce he was signing three bills to help prevent lead poisoning — and hours after the state released its daily COVID-19 numbers — Gov. Phil Murphy stopped everything to make a plea:
“We are not out of the woods yet,” he said. “The numbers, unfortunately, are going up.”
And they are passing another milestone.
By reporting 750 new positive PCR tests Thursday, the state passed 900,000 positive tests.
The statistic, of course, is not the definitive number regarding the impact of the pandemic. Thousands of others in the state have certainly had COVID without a positive test result.
Then again, the point isn’t the number — but the fact that it is still going up. The rate of transmission is now 1.4, well above the 1.0 mark the state chases.
“This is a pandemic that is still with us — and it is a pandemic, overwhelmingly, of unvaccinated individuals,” Murphy said. “Please, God, if you are not yet vaccinated, or you’ve got a family member, neighbor, coworker, friend, who’s not vaccinated, plead with them to get vaccinated.
“It is the singular thing you could do to protect yourself from hospitalization, or death.”
- New probable cases: 312;
- New confirmed deaths: 4;
- Total confirmed deaths: 23,846;
- Probable deaths: 2,718;
- Hospital deaths in last 24 hours: 2.
The good news — and much of this can be attributed to the state’s high rate of vaccination — there are only 356 people hospitalized from COVID, 60 of which are in the ICU and 30 of which are on ventilators.