COVID-19 cases are creeping back up in NJ. But officials say holiday gatherings can be enjoyed safely

Gov. Phil Murphy says that New Jersey is heading backward when it comes to spreading COVID-19.
At his Monday briefing, the governor said that several counties in the state are back up to a high-risk status. Only seven counties in the state are designated as a substantial risk.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that everyone wear a mask in public, indoor settings.
Murphy also says that there have been 54 new COVID-19 cases reported in schools over the course of a week. This now makes 860 cases since the start of the school year.
But despite the number, the governor says that the number of in-school outbreaks is trending in the right direction.
“The number of individuals impacted is actually down with each incident, which I assume has something to do with, I would hope, vaccinations getting more broadly proliferated,” Murphy said.
Meanwhile, as the holidays get closer, many are anxious about returning to large family gatherings.
A new poll finds that 38% of Americans say they are concerned about contracting COVID-19 over the holidays.
Data from the CDC shows that more than 68% of the United States has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Health experts say families who are vaccinated can feel good about enjoying a typical Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.
"We unfortunately still have infections - 70,000 new cases per day. So when you go to indoor congregate settings, wear a mask. But when you're with your family at home, goodness, enjoy it with your parents, children, grandparents. There's no reason not to do that,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Fauci also emphasized that the pandemic is not permanent and that it will end. But how quickly we get there will depend on public and how many people can get vaccinated.