Over the past month, as the COVID-19 second wave has taken hold, New Jersey hospitalizations and patients in intensive care have tripled, the average number of new coronavirus cases in New Jersey has more than tripled, shooting past 4,000 a day, and the coronavirus death toll has also been steadily climbing.

And as bad as things are, they could soon get much worse.

During the coronavirus update on Wednesday Gov. Phil Murphy said the latest models project a significant increase in new cases in the next few months.

“There is no way to sugarcoat any of these numbers,” he said, “they are not good and they are trending worse.”

Despite all of the bad news, Murphy believes “human nature can change the outcome, can bend the curve. We know this because we did it this past spring.”

“The only way to lower these numbers is to wear masks, to social distance, to wash our hands frequently with soap and water and to not attend any private gatherings outside of those with our immediate families," he said.

Murphy noted gatherings in private homes are still believed to be driving the higher infection numbers.

“Our plea is do the right thing when you’re behind closed doors,” he said. “Limit the amount of people who are with you, particularly inter-generationally.”

The governor also pointed out as the numbers keep going higher, “we need more testing capacity.

"Some days we’re over 70,000 but we’re hungry for more. When you see folks out on line waiting to in and get a test, we’ve got to fix that so we’re doing everything we can to continue to bulk up our testing," he sad.

Bergen, Essex, Passaic, Union, Hudson and Middlesex counties have had the most cases lately, but the problem is spreading.

The governor said as the number of cases keeps spiking, it’s becoming more important for people to respond when a contact tracer tries to reach them.

The governor said the state has stockpiled a significant amount of PPE and hospitals have a lot more ventilators than eight months ago. The greatest concern right now is having enough staffing capacity at hospitals, which my not be able to count on nurses and doctors from other states because “the whole country is on fire.”

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