TRENTON, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy once again condemned crowded house parties during his COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday, stating that these parties are causing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases throughout New Jersey.
Over the past four months, Murphy said New Jersey residents have “crushed the curve,” but added that he is disappointed in the roughly 2,000 new positive coronavirus test results seen over the last four days.
“This is no time for anyone to be vying for induction into the Knucklehead Hall of Fame,” said Murphy, invoking one of his favorite terms referring to those who engage in behavior that might increase the transmission of COVID-19.
The governor cited the following as recent examples of this behavior:
- A house party attended by teens in Middletown last week has now been linked to 50 new positive cases of coronavirus in attendees between the ages of 15 to 19.
- A party on LBI has now sidelined nearly three-dozen lifeguards who have tested positive
- A house party in Jackson that had an estimated 700 people over this past weekend and took nearly the entire Jackson Township police force to break up.
“We don’t even know yet how many new coronavirus cases may ultimately be the outcome of this party," said Murphy. "We’re now back to where we were roughly a month ago in the daily number of new cases. We cannot go backwards."
He also reiterated that COVID-19 is more easily transmitted indoors and that large indoor gatherings "where the air-conditioning system is simply blowing the air around and people are not wearing masks" are not safe.
“Being young is not an excuse to let your guard down," he said. "You are not immune to COVID-19. Do not become the person who unknowingly contracts coronavirus at a party and then spreads it to loved ones who may be more susceptible to this virus. Just because it is summer does not mean that we give up our common sense or personal responsibility.
"We can have an enjoyable summer. We can gather together with our friends, but only in small groups and, hopefully, only outdoors. Indoor gathers, in close proximity, without face coverings, have got to end. If we don’t shake that bad habit, we are all in peril."