Gov. Murphy: Virus transmission rate ticks up as outbreaks reported; mandatory mask rule under consideration

Gov. Phil Murphy says the rate of transmission of COVID-19 in New Jersey has exceeded 1.0 for the first time in a month and a half.

News 12 Staff

Jul 6, 2020, 10:36 AM

Updated 1,376 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy says the rate of transmission of COVID-19 in New Jersey has exceeded 1.0 for the first time in a month and a half. That’s the average number of people infected by each infectious person.
The governor said Monday in his daily press conference that there were several outbreaks across the state that officials found to be directly tied to travel to other hotspots.
“This mean for that for every new case of COVID we are seeing, that case is leading to at least one other new case,” Murphy said. “This means the virus is increasing statewide.”
Murphy says that the increase has him mulling a mandate for people to wear face coverings outside of their homes. New Jersey already mandates that people wear masks inside indoor common areas like supermarkets and malls.
“It’s something we’re looking at real time, on the masking outdoors,” Murphy said. “Face coverings are how we slow the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings are our way to show others that we care.”
The governors of Pennsylvania and Texas have issued mask orders as they see the virus surging in their states.
“We are concerned about the impact to our state,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.
Murphy said that the increase in cases could delay New Jersey from entering phase three of recovery.
“We’re at where we are and I guess we’re going to be there for a bit,” he said.
Murphy said that the issue with requiring masks outdoors would be the massive task of enforcing the rules. He said that he wants the federal government to order face coverings nationwide.
“We can’t help but be concerned now with developments elsewhere in the country, because folks are coming back to New Jersey or visiting New Jersey. We’re only as strong right now as a nation as the one weakest link,” he said. “I’m not sure we need Congress for that. I’m not sure if you need a law for that. But boy, we could really use that right now.”
The governor said the increase in cases in the state come both from more reopenings around the state and people coming into New Jersey from other states.
The statewide total number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey now stands at 173,611. The governor also announced 20 additional deaths, bringing the statewide death toll to 13,373.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.
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