TRENTON, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy, joined by Health Commissioner Judith Persichili and Ed Lifshitz said on Monday that an uptick in COVID-19 cases in Ocean and Monmouth County, at this point are not indicative of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We remain vigilant every day throughout the whole state, looking at what we would call a second wave. We know internationally that many other countries are seeing what they consider a surge in cases. Israel, as an example, has gone down into another lockdown of the country as a result,” Persichili said. “But I don’t think we’re seeing anything specific.”
Lifshitz agreed with Persichili’s assessment but added that the recent uptick has an “undertow” feeling of a second wave.
“We would expect to see a number of different things. Certainly positivity, assuming we were testing enough, would be one of the early things that we’d expect to see. We’d look at number of new cases, look at visits to emergency departments and so forth,” Lifshitz said. “I’m going to agree with what both people said. I do not yet see a second wave. I’m always paying attention for the feeling of that undertow that might be suggesting that a wave is coming. Certainly any increase in numbers catches our attention and rightly increases our response to that area. But right now, I would not say it’s a wave.”
Murphy blamed the recent uptick on high school house parties in Monmouth County.
“I do know house parties, or at least a house party, is still on the list, unfortunately,” Murphy said. “That’s a Monmouth data point. I would think…a second wave would, among other things, evidence in a much higher positivity rate than we have. I’m personally of the opinion this is part of the ebb and flow and partly explainable by specific events, and partly explainable by a lot of testing capacity.”
Last week, Persichili and Murphy warned of a possible “Twindemic” this fall, an outbreak of the seasonal flu and COVID-19.