What to Know
- The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut implemented a joint quarantine restriction last month on travelers from viral hotspot states; travelers from certain states must self-isolate for 14 days
- 34 states plus Puerto Rico are on the restricted list; the national death toll topped 156,000 this week, by NBC News estimates
- Slipping compliance at home compounds the national threat; New Jersey is seeing a small uptick in new COVID-19 cases. The state's transimission rate climbed from 0.87 a month ago to 1.48 on Monday
Some states on the tri-state's quarantine list have hit a plateau in coronavirus infections, and few of them have seen decreases in new cases -- but the list remains almost as long as ever.
California, Florida and Texas have all surpassed New York in most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and they're among the 34 states (plus Puerto Rico) currently on the travel-restricted list.
New Jersey added Rhode Island to the restriction list Tuesday, and removed Delaware and Washington DC. It's the first time since the tri-state governors set up the quarantine system that a New England state has been on the list.
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the Empire State is seeing some of its lowest infection and hospitalization numbers to date but "it's only a matter of time" before the virus resurges in the region.
"The national situation is getting worse, it's not getting better. it's an inarguable fact," the governor said.
Cuomo continued to stress that there needs to be a national strategy in handling the pandemic, adding that Washington has to pass a fair bill that includes funding for state and local governments or there's going be a real economic recession. Some of the nation's top experts have suggested a national reset -- a need to re-close a number of states experiencing spiraling COVID surges. Nearly two dozen states, including New York and New Jersey, have slowed or reversed reopenings.
"The national COVID response was a historic and colossal blunder by the federal government. Six months and this virus is still out of control around the country. Six months wasted," Cuomo said Monday. "Shame on all of you."
Daily Percentage of Positive Tests by New York Region
With all of New York state in some phase of reopening, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is shifting his focus to monitoring test results on a daily basis across each region to identify potential hotspots before they emerge. Here's the latest tracking data by region. For the latest county-level results statewide, click here
Out-of-state travel from viral hotspots has already contributed to new clusters in New York and New Jersey. That threat compounds the one of slipping compliance locally. New York City's infection rate hasn't gone up because of the latter yet -- and Cuomo is cracking down heavily on the bar and restaurant scene.
“We cannot go back to the hell we experienced just a few months ago — and surging infection rates across the country threaten to bring us back there — so we must all remain vigilant," Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday.
It has certainly made an impact, though, in New Jersey, which is seeing its highest transmission rates in six weeks as people continue to attend crowded house parties and flaunt COVID precautions that drove spread down in the first place.
Gov. Phil Murphy had put New Jersey "on notice" late last week and took action Monday, re-lowering the capacity on indoor gatherings from 100 to 25 people. The restrictions remain in effect "until further notice." Murphy wants to see the rate of transmission reduce to a lower level over a seven-day rolling average. New Jersey has seen an average of around five new confirmed COVID-19 virus per 100,000 residents over the last week. That’s up from a low of 2.5 on July 22, and down from a peak of 41.4 new cases per 100,000 on April 7.
A month ago, New Jersey's rate of transmission was 0.87. On Tuesday, it was 1.41, meaning one infected person is infecting nearly one and a half other people. Cuomo would call that an outbreak. As he says, an outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere. The New York governor was asked last week about whether he'd consider putting New Jersey on the quarantine list, given its recent uptick.
Cuomo said he didn't see how that could work, and pledged to help New Jersey get through this bump in the road to recovery.
New York and New Jersey have lost more people to the virus than any other state in the nation by a long shot, but the national death toll is rising rapidly amid the worsening crisis. Florida continues to break its single-day death records. California has also reported new daily fatality highs in recent weeks.
Nationally, the U.S. death toll has topped 156,000 this week, by NBC News estimates. The number of hotspots on the restricted list has risen every single week since Cuomo, Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont jointly announced the travel restriction late June in a bid to protect tri-state progress.