Data released separately on Monday by Rutgers University and the Murphy administration suggest that the growth rate of new positive COVID-19 cases has slowed in recent days, a signal that aggressive social distancing measures and efforts of the past month may be paying off.
One set of numbers, presented by Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday, showed the rate in day-over-day new cases dropped from 24 percent on March 31, to 12 percent on April 6. Meanwhile, data from Rutgers-Camden’s COVID-19 Daily Tracker, shows that both the death rates and the numbers of new cases appear to be “flattening considerably.”
“Although the total number of deaths varies widely by county, the curves appear to be flattening in each county,” the report adds.
As of April 6, COVID-19 infected 41,090 New Jerseyans and claimed just over 1,000 lives.
To halt the spread of the virus, Murphy over the past month enacted a ban on any public gatherings, a prohibition on most travel, and the closure of any “non-essential retail”—such as dine-in restaurants, bars and theaters, malls and casinos, barbershops and salons, entertainment and recreation.
Because of those measures, the peak number of COVID-19 positives in the state could range from 86,000 cases by April 19, to a worst-case scenario of 509,000 cases by May 11.
That all depends on how strictly residents adhere to social distancing guidelines and laws – less adherence will cause cases to spike, and vice versa.
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“What you’re doing is making a difference. We have enough data now to say that comfortably,” Murphy said Monday afternoon at his daily COVID-19 press briefing in Trenton “While we are not anywhere close to being out of the woods just of yet, we are clearly on the right path to get there.”
Projections also include hospitalizations: 9,000 total hospitalizations by April 10 or 36,000 hospitalizations by April 28.
And the state’s COVID-19 mortality rate is very high, 2.4 percent, according to state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, though the figure could flatten to between 1 percent and 1.5 percent.
“We’ll be overwhelmed, like a tsunami,” Murphy said of the worst-case scenario, countering that, “It will be tough and it will be stressful, but our health system can get through this intact.”