Coronavirus Updates: New Jersey tops 2,000 daily cases for 1st time since May

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NEW YORK (WABC) -- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, appearing in public for the first time since hastily leaving an event at Camden County Community College in Blackwood last Wednesday after learning he had close contact with an administration official who tested positive, said Friday that the state topped 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time since May.

Murphy, who subsequently tested negative at least four times, announced 2,089 more positive cases. New Jersey reported 2,494 cases on May 6 and now has 13 straight days of more than 1,000 new positive tests.

"On the sobering side, 2,089 positive cases of COVID in New Jersey today, seven fatalities, again, over 1,000 people in our hospitals," he said. "We are still in the fight. Let there be no doubt about it. Let's get back to why we are here today."

Murphy said he has high anxiety amid the increase of cases in his state and that while he hasn't ruled out a statewide curfew for businesses, it's only under consideration "if we had to. I just hope we don't have to."

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Here are more of today's headlines:



UConn bars students from off-campus events amid virus spike
The University of Connecticut on Friday ordered residential students in Storrs to stay away from all off-campus social gatherings until the middle of next week amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

UConn reported 15 new positive tests for the new coronavirus on Friday, the highest single-day number since late September. Twelve of those were from students, including nine who live off-campus.

US surpasses 9 million COVID cases
The United States surpassed 9 million COVID-19 cases on Friday with a total of 9,007,298, according to Johns Hopkins. Deaths have reached 229,293.

Cuomo says schools can reopen if everyone is tested
Gov. Cuomo announced an agreement on a testing protocol that will allow schools in red and orange micro-cluster zones to reopen: mass testing before school reopens & then weekly surveillance testing.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says schools in red and orange zones can reopen to in-person learning if they agree to test all students and faculty. If anyone tests positive, they cannot enter the school. If a child tests positive, then the state will contact trace back to the family.

Cuomo says on an ongoing basis, 25% of the population every week will be tested. The state will provide free rapid-result test kits for schools wishing to participate.

CDC: Cruises can restart after 'simulated voyages'
The CDC's Conditional Sail Order issued Friday says cruise lines can only apply for a "Conditional Sailing Certificate" after conducting simulated voyages with volunteer passengers with no pre-existing conditions, who consent to potentially putting themselves at risk.

All passengers must agree to testing before and after the cruise.

Cuomo speaks on White House vaccine plan
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the White House's vaccination plan is flawed. He said the distribution mechanism is too limited and relies mostly on distribution through private pharmacies. Cuomo made the comments after participating on a conference call with the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

NYC rates dip, but mayor urges vigilance
Mayor Bill de Blasio says COVID positivity rates in New York City have declined since Thursday, but he says residents must still remain vigilant. The daily positivity rate is now 1.57% with a seven-day rolling average of 1.87%. The seven day average for reported cases is 514. The mayor says he wants New Yorker to avoid the new shutdowns seen in Europe and other parts of the country due to spikes in coronavirus cases. He is also urging against holiday travel and against Halloween gatherings this weekend.

Stamford rolls back reopening
In Connecticut, officials are very concerned over an alarming increase of coronavirus cases in the state. Stamford is rolling back its reopening to Phase 2 due to the spike of COVID-19 across in the region, meaning restaurants and personal service businesses can only operate at 50% capacity. Indoor religious gatherings are back to 25% capacity, and indoor performing arts theaters are once again closed. Stamford is on red alert, and the mayor says every indicator suggest the city is at the beginning of a second wave.

Governors across US warn about COVID-19 spike
There's a stern warning about the spike in COVID-19 cases from some governors across the United States Friday. Hospitalizations are on the rise coast-to-coast with at least 13 states seeing a record number of patients. Now, a new battle brewing in one of the hardest-hit areas. A judge in El Paso has ordered a two-week shutdown of non-essential businesses in the county, taking effect overnight. But the Texas attorney general says he may challenge the shutdown, claiming it violates the governor's executive order. In Wisconsin, hospitals are now two to six weeks away from running out of ICU beds, with 20% of hospitals saying they're facing critical staffing shortages. In Utah, the governor warns hospitals there are getting too full to function.

2nd study testing a COVID-19 antibody drug has a setback
For the second time, a study testing an experimental antibody drug for COVID-19 has been paused to investigate a possible safety issue in hospitalized patients. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Friday that independent monitors had recommended placing on hold enrollment of the most severely ill patients -- those who need intense oxygen treatment or breathing machines -- because of a potential safety problem and unfavorable balance of risks and benefits. The study can continue to test the two-antibody drug combo in hospitalized patients who need little or no extra oxygen, the monitors said. Other studies in mild or moderately ill people also are continuing.

Open Storefronts Program begins, aims to help small businesses in NYC
There's some relief for small businesses across the five boroughs as NYC's Open Storefront's program begins Friday. Under the new program:
--Businesses can utilize the sidewalk directly in front of their storefront.
--Businesses on existing Open Streets: Restaurants can use curb lane directly in front of store.
--Businesses on the same street block can join together and apply for an Open Street.

Additionally, there must be an 8-foot path for pedestrians to safely walk by. For information on how to apply, visit nyc.gov/openstorefronts.

CDC makes grim prediction
The CDC predicts another 15,000 to 28,000 new deaths in the US over the next three weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. That would mean a total of 243,000 to 256,000 American lives lost by November 21, just a few days before the holiday. The CDC's prediction is based on a weekly ensemble forecast, an average of 47 different models.
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Watch Dr. Jen Ashton's advice on what precautions against COVID-19 you should take if you head to the polls or go out for trick-or-treating.


Recovering COVID patients dealing with long-term effects find solace in online community
While many people recover from the coronavirus, some deal with the lingering effects of the virus for months after. These so-called long haulers are sharing information and giving each other support in an online community.

Know your NYC COVID Zone
You can find your COVID zone at NYC.gov/covidzone.



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