New Jersey limits indoor gatherings to 10 to curb COVID spread

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New Jersey [US], November 17 (ANI/Sputnik): The US state of New Jersey is limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 150 to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Governor Phil Murphy said Monday.

Similar precautions have been taken recently by neighbouring states including former COVID-19 hotspot New York amid a surge in cases.

"I'm signing an Executive Order RETIGHTENING restrictions on gatherings to help stop the spread of #COVID19," Murpy said in a tweet. "Effective tomorrow: Indoor gatherings are limited to a MAXIMUM of 10 people. Effective Nov 23rd: Outdoor gatherings are limited to a MAXIMUM of 150 people."

Tuesday's indoor limits will go into effect at 6:00 a.m. EST (11:00 a.m. GMT), his office said in a statement.

The New Jersey order came as US coronavirus infections set new daily record highs all through last week, breaching 184,000 cases on Friday. According to Johns Hopkins University, over 11 million Americans have contracted the virus since February, and more than 246,000 have died from complications caused by it.

The possibility of a second US national lockdown, following the March-May curbs on businesses across the country, also appears real with President-Elect Joe Biden's coronavirus task force adviser, Dr. Michael Osterholm, saying a four-to-six-week stay-at-home could help break the back of the pandemic.

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak raging anew, efforts to mitigate the virus have been a challenge for officials as many Americans, mostly supporters of incumbent President Donald Trump, refuse to wear masks or practice social distancing and other safety measures advocated by Biden, who takes office on January 20. However, Biden supporters also violated COVID-19 restrictions recently during celebrations after his victory was projected by every major US media outlet.

"I know you think you're invincible," Murphy said in a tweet directed at those opposed to his plan. "Maybe you think that people aren't getting sick anymore, or going to the hospital, or dying anymore. Maybe you think you're the victim of some witch hunt. Whatever that reason is, I can assure you it (is) false. It is a myth."

In another tweet, Murphy said New Jersey has had 14,779 deaths so far from the virus, and could have another 1,801 based on caseloads.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that he was limiting the number of people allowed to gather in private homes and also placed a curfew on bars, restaurants and gyms as a resurgence in COVID-19 cases raised fears the state could again become a coronavirus hotspot like earlier in the year.

At the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in April, New York reported about 10,000 positive cases a day. It also had about 18,000 people in hospital and faced roughly 800 deaths a day from the virus. Hospitalizations have more than doubled in New York since the first week of October, hitting a recent high of 1,628 on Wednesday. (ANI/Sputnik)