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April 06, 2020

New Jersey coronavirus data shows hopeful signs that state's curve is flattening

The rate of confirmed, new cases across has been cut in half since last week, Gov. Phil Murphy says

New Jersey is beginning to show signs that the curve is flattening in the state's fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy said during his daily briefing on Monday.

While the number of confirmed cases in New Jersey continues to rise, the growth rate of new COVID-19 cases is not as steep, going from 24% day-over-day on March 30 to 12% on Monday. 

The data shows that social distancing guidelines are starting to pay off, Murphy said. He issued a stay-at-home order on March 21 as the outbreak began to spread in New Jersey. Murphy also mandated the closing of all non-essential business and banned all public and private gatherings.

The goal is to bring the growth rate of cases across the state down to zero, the governor said.

"What we can see, together, is that while we're not anywhere close to being out of the woods yet, we're on the right path to get there," Murphy said.

But Murphy said New Jersey is at least two weeks away from the projected peak number of COVID-19 patients, which is projected to range from 86,000 to 509,000. If residents continue to practice social distancing, cases could peak as early as April 19, but that peak might not be reached until May 11 if residents start to flout the guidelines. 

Murphy described the difference in projected cases across the state as "life or death."

"If we stick to the bottom curve, we get to the peak of that flatter curve much more quickly," Murphy said. "We can then drop down the other side that much more quickly, too."

Meanwhile, the projected peak in the number of hospitalizations could come as soon as this Friday. The number of people New Jersey officials predict will require hospitalization is projected to be between 9,000 and 36,000. However, the peak of hospitalizations could be delayed until late April if residents ease up on social distancing, which Murphy described as "literally disastrous" for the state's health care system.

"If you stop your social distancing, your life and the lives of our medical personnel will be in much more danger," Murphy said.

Despite the encouraging news, Murphy urged residents to not use it as an excuse to return to normal life.

"The curve is flattening. But, this is no time to spike any footballs or to take our foot off the gas," Murphy said. "This isn't over – not by a long shot."

New Jersey has 41,090 confirmed coronavirus cases, the second-most of any state across the country, and 1,003 deaths due to COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon. While the vast majority of positive cases and deaths have appeared in North Jersey, there have been 1,880 cases and 30 deaths in South Jersey.

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