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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Murphy cuts briefings to three days per week

Governor warns old schedule could return if virus surges

By Nikita Biryukov, July 06 2020 2:25 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy cutting down his daily COVID-19 briefings.

The governor on Monday announced he would begin holding only three virus briefings per week, on each on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“We’re going to begin that process today, so we will not be with you tomorrow,” Murphy said. “We’ll be with you electronically. We’ll have a virtual release each day just as we have been doing on weekends.”

The move, which was planned some time in advance, comes as New Jersey’s rate of transmission jumped above one for the first time in 10 weeks.

The measure tracks how many people a COVID-19 carrier infects on average, and a rate of transmission above one suggests a growing number of infections.

Citing the growth of the virus in other states, Murphy declined to rule out moving back to a more strenuous briefing schedule.

“Sadly, given the world right now and the state of COVID in the country, we may shift courses, but we’re going to go to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule beginning today,” he said.

The rate of transmission’s growth has also paused the state’s reopening plan. Though previously announced reopenings for outdoor graduations, day camps, in-person summer schools and NJ Transit went off as planned Monday, they’ll be the last for at least a little while, Murphy said.

“Where we are now, my guess is we’re going to be there for a bit,” he said. “If we see these numbers, particularly the (rate of transmission), go down again precipitously and the spot positivity rate stay down, that will allow us to take some steps that I don’t think we feel comfortable taking today.”

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