By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
SOUTH JERSEY — When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its updated guidance on mask-wearing in the United States, only eight of New Jersey’s 21 counties were deemed to have “substantial” or “high” levels of COVID-19 transmission. Now, 20 counties — including all of South Jersey — now have “substantial” spread of the virus or worse.
According to the CDC’s COVID-19 data tracker, the only county in New Jersey with a “moderate” level of COVID-19 transmission is Warren County, which is located in the northwestern part of the state. Residents in the remaining 20 counties should resume wearing masks and social distancing indoors, as per the updated CDC guidance.
You can check out the map of New Jersey’s COVID-19 transmission level below. The orange counties have a “substantial” level of COVID-19 transmission, and red indicates counties with a “high” level of transmission.
Cape May and Monmouth counties both have a “high” level of COVID-19 transmission. Camden, Cumberland, and Salem counties’ transmission rates were upgraded to “substantial” over the weekend. The CDC calculates the transmission rate by combining new cases per 100,000 people and the COVID-19 positive test rate over the past week.
At the time of publication, Governor Phil Murphy hadn’t issued any concrete orders or mandates in response to the updated CDC guidance. He did, however, release a statement in which he “strongly” recommended people to resume mask-wearing and social distancing and to get vaccinated if they haven’t done so already. The new guidance was issued as the Delta variant of COVID-19 caused an uptick in new case numbers nationwide.
Gov. Murphy will hold a regularly-scheduled COVID-19 briefing at 1 p.m. Monday. You’ll be able to watch the livestream of his briefing on the Governor’s YouTube channel.
On Sunday, top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said he doesn’t expect another lockdown as a result of the Delta variant. Although, in Dr. Fauci’s words, “things are going to get worse,” enough Americans have been vaccinated to avoid a mass lockdown.
“Not enough to crush the outbreak,” he said during an interview on ABC. “But I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter.”
Although vaccinated people can still contract and spread the Delta variant of COVID-19, their risk of severe illness and death is drastically lower than those who are unvaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and widely available in the United States.
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