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State officials speak on increased coronavirus transmission among young adults, large crowd in Seaside Heights

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Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said a group of YouTubers attracted a large crowd in Seaside Heights, which consisted of approximately 1,000 or more individuals, that disregarded social distancing guidelines and the statewide face mask mandate.

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) discussed the increased number of situations in which individuals have not been following social distancing guidelines or adhering to the statewide face mask mandate, especially among younger New Jersey residents, during yesterday’s press conference.

Murphy said that on Monday, a group of YouTube influencers attracted a crowd of approximately 1,000 or more individuals in Seaside Heights. Police officers from surrounding towns, as well as the New Jersey State Police, got involved to break up the crowd.

New Jersey State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan said members of the crowd threw glass bottles and rocks at police officers when attempting to contain the crowd. He said eight individuals were cited with multiple charges, including disorderly conduct.

“It was irresponsible from top to bottom in every respect and these so-called influencers need to be taken to task,” Murphy said. “New Jersey was just the latest stop on their tour of willful negligence for public health in a pandemic.”

New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said that for the state’s younger population, the positivity rate for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has substantially risen over the past two months.

The positivity rate for individuals aged 14 to 18, which was three percent in mid-August, is now at seven percent. Additionally, for individuals aged 19 to 24, she said the positivity rate has risen from 2.7 percent to 7.1 percent since mid-August.

Murphy said that while the health and safety protocols are working effectively in the educational environment so far, it seems as though the real issue is beyond the school walls.

“We’re not remotely close — and I don’t know when we’ll get there — (to) packed congregating around a bar, either inside in a bar or a restaurant,” Murphy said. “So what makes people think that a house party is any different than that because that’s what that is, right? We’ve got to avoid that like the plague.”

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