New Jersey has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, behind New York and ahead of Massachusetts, and a Monday poll shows that far more Garden State residents are feeling the impact than in most of the rest of the country.
Seventy-one percent of New Jerseyans said the global pandemic had an impact on their daily lives—compared to just 62 percent across the country, according to a report from the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
New Jersey has been in a virtual state of total lockdown to slow down the spread of COVID-19—an approach that has touched upon the lives of many of New Jersey’s 8.8 million residents.
“These results should come as no surprise as they confirm what we have been seeing from other sources. New Jersey has been harder hit than most of the country,” Pat Murray, the institute’s director, said in the Monday morning report.
As of Sunday afternoon, the virus infected 109,038 New Jersey residents and claimed 5,938 lives.
Still, state health officials pointed out that the rate of new cases has flattened in recent weeks, staying at between 3,500 and 4,000 a day. Meanwhile, hospitalizations have steadily dropped in the past week, prompting state officials to eye how restrictions could slowly begin to be lifted.
“Many New Jerseyans are just starting to feel the financial pinch, but these results suggest the economic impact will be much more widespread and particularly damaging to lower income families here than in other states,” Murray added.
Two-thirds of New Jerseyans said they knew someone who came down with COVID-19, compared to 26 percent across the country. Sixty-eight percent of New Jerseyans said their stress spiked in recent weeks, compared to 55 percent of nationwide residents.
And 42 percent of New Jerseyans had a family member who was laid off, compared to 30 percent nationwide. While 24 percent said they personally lost their jobs, according to the poll, compared to 12 percent nationwide.
As New Jersey transitions from spring to summer, many residents are evenly split on whether they will cancel plans to visit the Jersey Shore in the coming months.
Forty-seven percent of residents felt their summer vacation plans by the seaside were still on, while 51 percent said their plans would likely be cancelled.
In 2018, the industry generated nearly $45 billion in economic activity, Murphy said at a tourism conference in Trenton last year, which is expected to take some kind of hit in the summer months.
“Going down the shore is one of those defining features of being a New Jerseyan. Whether or not we can keep those plans this year will say a lot about how quickly the state can get on the road to recovery,” Murray said.
Prior to the outbreak, 51 percent of New Jerseyans said they planned to head down to the shore, either for a day trip, or for a days-long vacation. Thirty-seven percent of residents said they had no plans for the shore, 7 percent said they already own a shore home, and 4 percent live on the shore.
Monmouth interviewed 704 New Jersey adults between April 16 and 19. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.