Newark Mayor Ras Baraka sounds the alarm as COVID-19 infections rise at a frightening rate.
We’re supposed to be gearing up to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families, but as we approach the holiday, COVID-19 infections numbers rising across the country. New Jersey, one of the first states along with New York City, hit hardest by the contagious virus back in March, is now seeing a spike in numbers after getting them under control for a good portion of the summer.
With the state’s infection rate at a frightening 10%, a number the state hasn’t seen since May, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced some restrictions without statewide but stopped short of issuing another shutdown. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka defying his governor and is taking things even further as the largest city in New Jersey is averaging almost 300 cases a day in the city.
Baraka has ordered all sports to stop on Wednesday for a two-week period until all players and coaches get tested. He’s also issued a mandatory 9 p.m. curfew in three zip codes in the city’s East Ward, where the infection rate is the highest. Baraka has also banned all visits to long-term care facilities and limited indoor gatherings to no more than 10 people. The restrictions are in addition to earlier steps Baraka took two weeks ago, ordering an 8 p.m. curfew for non-essential businesses when the city’s positivity rate was 11%.
These measures go much further than any issued by Gov. Phil Murphy, who has so far resisted broader lockdown measures amid the second wave of the virus. On Monday, Murphy ordered indoor dining to stop by 10 p.m. and banned any seating at indoor bars. Murphy also banned all indoor interstate sports, starting Thursday.
During a daily briefing on Wednesday (Nov.11), Baraka said:
“We are exactly at the same space we were during the pandemic at the height of the eye of the storm when things began to get totally out of control. It is staring us in the face, and if we don’t do anything different, we’re going to get the same results.”
When speaking to Gov.Murphy, whom he is a close ally of further stated:
“We really should be closing the stores down completely, and I’m going to have a conversation with the governor. This is not other towns. We have to run faster than the state, full steam ahead.”
The second or third wave, whatever you want to call it, is in full effect. We urge you to continue to wash your hands, and if you venture outside social distance and, of course, WEAR A DAMN MASK.
Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY / Getty