19% Positivity Rate as Outbreak Accelerates in N.J.’s Largest City

By Kevin Armstrong and 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Nov. 11, 2020

“If I touch something, I wash,” said Carlos Ribeiro, a manager of Calandra’s Bakery in Newark. “I support masks 200 percent.”

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NEWARK — As the coronavirus started surging in New Jersey’s largest city, officials introduced the state’s first new coronavirus lockdown two weeks ago, mandating an 8 p.m. indoor closing time for all restaurants, bars and nonessential businesses citywide.

But then the number of new cases in the city, Newark, climbed even higher: Over the last four days, there have been 842 new reported infections, and 19 percent of people tested over three days last week were found to have the virus, city and county officials said.

The uptick mirrors a troubling statewide trend that has resulted in a spike in Covid-19 hospitalizations across New Jersey to levels not seen since June.

On Tuesday, New Jersey reported 3,877 new cases, a figure the governor called “devastating.” By the next day, 3,078 new cases were recorded. Hospitals also reported 15 coronavirus deaths, adding to the more than 16,400 New Jersey fatalities already linked to the virus.

Newark, a commuter hub, is about a 15-mile drive from New York City, where officials are struggling to contain an outbreak on Staten Island and bracing for a second wave of cases citywide.

New York’s governor has announced that bars, restaurants and gyms across the state must close nightly at 10 p.m. starting Friday, and that private residential gatherings should not exceed 10 people.

Of the Northeast states, only Rhode Island and Connecticut have higher rates of infection per 100,000 residents than New Jersey, according to a New York Times database.

The rates in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are not far behind, however, as the region, which had been an early epicenter of the pandemic, struggles to regain control of a virus that had largely been tamped down just a few months ago.

Alarmed by the new data, Newark turned to a new tactic on Tuesday.

The mayor, Ras J. Baraka, implemented a sweeping set of rules designed to avoid a repeat of the springtime outbreak of the coronavirus, which has been linked to at least 680 deaths in the city of 282,000 — the hardest-hit municipality in the state’s hardest-hit county, Essex.

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published this page in News and Politics 2020-11-12 02:59:58 -0800