As President-elect Joe Biden gets set to take office this week, Gov. Phil Murphy and Rep. Josh Gottheimer expressed support for the American Rescue Plan rolled out the week before he was to be sworn in.
“I’m still reviewing the details, but, hopefully, (the) proposal from President-elect Biden will take us the distance until every family is finally vaccinated,” said Gottheimer in a press statement.
Murphy added “I look forward to working alongside the President-elect in any way I can to see this plan swiftly passed and enacted. New Jersey will help lead our nation into the new day that beckons.”
$1.9 Trillion Plan
The $1.9 trillion package includes more than $400 billion to combat the pandemic directly, including money to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine deployment and to safely reopen most schools within 100 days. Another $350 billion would help state and local governments bridge budget shortfalls, while the plan would also include $1,400 direct payments to individuals, more generous unemployment benefits, federally mandated paid leave for workers and large subsidies for childcare costs.
“During this pandemic, millions of Americans, through no fault of their own, have lost the dignity and respect that comes with a job and a paycheck,” President-elect Biden said in announcing the plan. “There is real pain overwhelming the real economy.”
Gottheimer noted the plan continues down the same road as the bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 emergency relief bill passed in December 2020 that the congressman that was at the forefront of working to pass.
American Rescue Plan
The $900 billion coronavirus stimulus bill approved by members of the Senate and House of Representatives Dec. 21, 2020, which included $600 direct payments to individuals and families, enhanced unemployment benefits, small business aid, and funding for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“(Our bill) played a critical role in helping fight the pandemic. As we said then, it was a down payment,” said Gottheimer. “(Biden’s plan) includes critical relief for our families and small businesses, support for our state and local governments, including our firefighters, law enforcement, and teachers, and critical resources for vaccine distribution.”
Among the key items in Biden’s American Rescue Plan are:
- Direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans, bringing the total relief to $2,000, including December’s $600 payments
- Increasing the federal, per-week unemployment benefit to $400 and extending it through the end of September
- Extending the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until the end of September
- $350 billion in state and local government aid
- $170 billion for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education
- $50 billion toward coronavirus testing
- $20 billion toward a national COVID-19 vaccine program in partnership with states, localities and tribes
- Making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable for the year and increasing the credit to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age 6)
The largeness of the bill aligned with the view of New Jersey’s governor, who stated “This plan meets every need with a real lifeline to American families, real support for state and local governments and for our vaccination efforts, and a real vision for our post-pandemic economic future.”
“I have said many times that history would not dismiss us for going big and bold but that history would judge us if we fail to ensure that the many needs of our people and our states are adequately met,” said Murphy.
The governor commended President-elect Biden for answering decisively during this moment in history where national uncertainty has left the country on edge.
“President-elect Biden continues to show he understands that this moment calls us to bold leadership,” said Murphy. “Getting ourselves in front of this pandemic—and staying there—cannot be done piecemeal and it cannot be done through austerity. It requires bold and equitable investment in our people, in our states, and in our common future.”
On Jan. 18, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 568,573 with 3,511 total new PCR cases reported. There were 533 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 62,501. The total number of individual cases for the state is 631,074. Gov. Murphy noted there is some unknown overlap due to health officials urging those taking a rapid test to get a PCR test.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 23 new deaths, bringing that total number of confirmed COVID-19 related deaths to 18,367. The state listed probable deaths at 2,091, bringing the overall total to 20,458. State officials noted 53 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties, Bergen had a total of 283 new confirmed cases and 44 probable cases, Essex 276 new cases and 28 probable cases, Hudson 285 new cases and 42 probable cases, Morris 167 new cases and and 47 probable cases, Passaic 129 new cases and and 22 probable cases, Sussex 64 new cases and 12 probable cases, and Warren 51 cases and four probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,222, followed by Bergen at 2,143, Hudson with 1,619, Passaic at 1,385, Morris at 825, Sussex at 192 and Warren County at 175.
In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 267, Essex has 257, Hudson has 170, Morris at 194, Passaic at 159, Sussex has 51 and Warren has 14.
The daily rate of infections from those tested as of Jan. 13, was 10.1%; by region, the rate was 9.7% in the North, 10.2% in the Central region and 11.4% in the South. The state is no longer using serology tests as health officials explained those results show a past presence of the disease as well as a current one.
As for the rate of transmission, it remained unchanged at 1.12. Officials have continually cited transmission rate and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.
Officials reported 3,432 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 1,407 in the North, 1,149 in the Central and 876 in the South.
Of those hospitalized, 632 are in intensive care units and 426 on ventilators. While 305 patients were discharged.
Bergen Tops County Count
Bergen has the most confirmed cumulative cases in the state with 54,932, followed by Essex at 54,930, Middlesex at 54,059, Hudson at 51,828, Passaic at 44,230, Union at 41,751, Ocean at 40,047, Monmouth at 39,996, Camden at 33,786, Burlington at 25,812, Morris at 24,625, Mercer at 21,822, Gloucester at 17,317, Atlantic at 15,317, Somerset at 14,986, Cumberland at 9,605, Sussex at 6,049, Warren at 4,916, Hunterdon at 4,807, Salem at 3,531, and Cape May at 2,902.
In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 6,053, followed by Union at 5,877, Ocean at 4,530, Essex at 4,502, Hudson at 4,139, Morris at 3,844, Atlantic at 3,783, Middlesex at 3,645, Passaic at 3,569, Monmouth at 3,596, Somerset at 3,169, Camden at 3,190, Cape May at 2,652, Burlington at 2,675, Gloucester at 2,220, Cumberland at 1,747, Mercer at 1,127, Sussex at 776, Warren at 514, Hunterdon at 468, and Salem 371.
Another 1,355 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 111 outbreaks involving 564 cases have been reported in 20 of the 21 counties in the Garden State, with no outbreaks in the last week.
For North Jersey, Bergen County has 22 confirmed outbreaks with 102 cases, Passaic County has five confirmed outbreaks with 25 cases, Sussex has five confirmed outbreaks with 13 cases, Warren has four confirmed outbreaks with nine cases, Hudson County has two confirmed outbreaks with 10 cases and Essex County with one confirmed outbreak with 83 cases. Morris is the only county in the state without an outbreak.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 426 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 14,170 of the cases, broken down between 6,802 residents and 7,368 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,196 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 31,298 residents and 20,493 staff, for a total of 51,791 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,644 on Jan. 15. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,551 residents deaths and 140 staff deaths.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 348,414 as of Jan. 18. Of those who have received the vaccine, 308,874 residents have received their first dose with 39,330 their second; 55% have been administered the Moderna vaccine and 45% the Pfizer.
Demographically, 62% of those vaccinated are women and 38% men. As for ethnicity, 46% are White, 21% unknown, 18% other, 6% Asian, 5% Hispanic and 4% Black. In regards to age of those having received the vaccine, 21% are 65 years old or olders, 33% are between the ages of 50-64, 34% are between the ages of 40-49, and 12% are between the ages of 18-29.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 39,504 doses, Essex 27,451 doses, Hudson 15,064 doses, Morris 18,251 doses, Passaic 15,992 doses, Sussex 6,084 doses, and Warren 3,641 doses.