New Jersey passes another vaccination milestone.

More than half of the adult population in New Jersey is now considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The state remains well on pace to meet, and exceed, the 70% goal set by Gov. Phil Murphy when vaccinations began last December.

Data posted to the state's COVID dashboard shows 3,598,660 people have been fully vaccinated in New Jersey. A total of 7,601,377 doses of vaccine have been distributed. With more than 4 million having had at least one dose, the state should easily surpass the 70% threshold before Memorial Day.

The number of new cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey also continues to drop. The rate of transmission (r/t) has been steadily increasing, but at .87 it signals a continued contraction of the outbreak. Anything below 1.0 means the outbreak is shrinking. The number of new COVID cases has dropped dramatically, down 60% over the last two weeks. Hospitalizations also continue to decline, with about 1,100 infected occupying beds.

These are all positive signs as New Jersey prepares for a summer rebound after more than a year of severe restrictions designed to stop the spread of COVID.

Most pandemic restrictions are due to be eased on May 19. The CDC may also issue new guidelines on wearing a mask indoors. White House Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci told ABC News he believed it was time to relax mask rules.

"We do need to start being more liberal as we get more people vaccinated," Fauci said. "As you get more people vaccinated, the number of cases per day will absolutely go down."

Fauci said the further relaxation of mask rules and other restrictions hinges on more people getting vaccinated. If the CDC does issue that new guidance, it's unclear if New Jersey will ease it's rules. Murphy indicated last week he was reluctant to lift the indoor mask requirement.

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