CDC still tells NJ to mask up as Biden ends COVID emergency
🔴 Biden to end COVID emergencies on May 11
🔵 CDC still recommending masks for worn in New Jersey
🏥 Statewide COVID metrics continue to fall
Even as President Joe Biden announces an end all U.S. COVID-19 emergencies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still urges New Jersey residents to mask-up.
The latest map on the CDC data tracker website lists the majority of the state is designated as having a 'medium' rate of community transmission.
Under the CDC guidelines, mask wearing in strongly encouraged indoors and on mass transportation. Masking is especially encouraged if you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID or if you have a compromised immune system.
Four New Jersey counties are listed as having a high rate of transmission: Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem.
In those areas, the CDC recommends full-time masking both outdoors and indoors.
Few want a return to masking in New Jersey
There are no mask mandates remaining in New Jersey, although medical facilities widely still require them.
A recent Monmouth University poll indicated that while the majority of New Jersey residents are still concerned about a loved one becoming infected with COVID, few favor a return to any of the mandates imposed during the height of the pandemic.
Gov. Phil Murphy has also said her does not favor a return to pandemic restrictions, but is keeping his options open. Murphy lifted New Jersey's public health emergency on march 7, 2022.
Congress poised to act
On the federal level, the national and public health emergencies have remained in effect. The new Republican House majority have been pushing resolutions to end them immediately. President Biden announced on Monday that they will expire on May 11.
Biden says the federal government will formally recategorize the federal coronavirus response to treat the virus as an endemic threat.
Meanwhile, a key advisory panel to the World Health Organization announced this week that the pandemic was nearing an "inflexion point" where higher levels of immunity can lower virus-related deaths.
At the same time, the WHO noted at least 170,000 people have died from COVID worldwide in the past eight weeks. The organization is calling for a continuation of aggressive immunization efforts.
New Jersey metrics are trending down
On Jan. 31, New Jersey's COVID dashboard listed just 873 new lab confirmed COVID infections and 252 probable infections. The state has also recorded another 6 lab confirmed deaths linked to COVID.
The current rate of transmission in New Jersey is .91. An r/t lower than 1.0 indicates the virus is no longer spreading.
Just 1,225 individuals are currently hospitalized for COVID related illness statewide.