NJ mandates quarantine for travelers from states struggling with COVID-19
As New Jersey continues to reopen, the state will join neighboring New York and Connecticut in mandating quarantine for people traveling from states with much higher rates of coronavirus infections.
The list of states is expected to change every day, but on Wednesday the 14-day self-quarantine rule was in effect for people from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington state, Utah and Texas. States with infection rates higher than 10% on a seven-day average will be added to the list.
The quarantine was announced Wednesday by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was joined via video by Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.
Without naming names, Cuomo blasted leaders in other states for shutting down too late or reopening too early.
"Our approach has been vindicated," Cuomo said. "I think these states handling it politically … you can't have a political theory on how to deal with a virus. It doesn't respond to political theory. It responds to science and data."
Cuomo said the advisory is not a "blockade" – it does not prevent anyone from entering the states. But people will have to self-quarantine or face mandatory quarantine and fines. The rule applies to residents of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut as well.
Hospitalizations in New York are now at the lowest since the crisis
erupted in early March. Hospitalizations and deaths in New Jersey also have been on a downward trajectory since mid April. In Texas, by contrast, more than 5,000 new cases were reported on Tuesday alone. The Democratic governors in the Northeast have taken heat from Republicans and some business leaders for their strict pandemic measures. Murphy has insisted that "public health determines economic health and data determines dates."
New Jersey has allowed beauty and personal care services to resume this week, allowed outdoor dinning last week, and will allow casinos, amusement parks and indoor dining to resume starting July 3.
Murphy said the travel advisory and self-quarantine measures are "the smart thing to do" and later added that it's "not a polite recommendation."
"These three states have been through hell and back and the last thing we need to do right now is subject our folks to another round," he said.
Cuomo said the virus initially got out of control because while the federal government was concerned about China, 3 million travelers from Europe entered the New York region, bringing the strain of the novel coronavirus that spread here.
"By the time we found out, we had viral spread all through the community," Cuomo said.
The nation's top infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told Congress that the next few weeks are critical to tamping down the surge and that people should avoid crowds or at least wear masks in them.
Hours later, President Donald Trump rallied hundreds of young conservatives in a megachurch in Arizona as the state reported a record 3,600 new infections.
Ahead of the event, the Democratic mayor of Phoenix, Kate Gallego, made clear that she did not believe the speech could be safely held in her city, and she urged the president to wear a face mask. He did not. Trump has refused to wear a mask in public, turning it into a conservative-vs.-liberal issue.
Includes material Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.