Watch live: New Jersey Governor Murphy gives briefing as state battles new rise in COVID-19 cases

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is holding a COVID-19 briefing Thursday after the state reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for four days straight. It’s no longer just a few hotspot counties causing the virus to spread — the problem is now widespread in the state, CBS New York reported.

Murphy said Wednesday he was self-quarantining out of an abundance caution because a senior member of his staff tested positive for the virus. He stressed he had no symptoms and has tested negative twice this week, including on Wednesday. 

How to watch Murphy’s COVID-19 briefing today

  • What: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy gives briefing on COVID-19 
  • Date: Thursday, October 22, 2020 
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • Location: New Jersey 
  • Online stream: Live on CBSN New York in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device 

Hospitalizations are increasing in the state and more schools are delaying reopenings.  

“This is not something we didn’t expect. We expected a second wave to happen in the fall. But the question is how bad it gets. That means peak, and how quickly we get to that peak,” said Dr. Shereef Elnahal, president and CEO of University Hospital, Newark.

Dr. Elnahal said this week the hospital was already nearly at capacity with non-COVID patients. Now virus-related hospitalizations are increasing again.

“Signs are pointing that this is about to get worse,” Dr. Elnahal said. “When you start to hit levels of 3 or 4% positivity, you can expect even more admissions. And most concerningly… we did have one COVID-19 death last week for the first time in many weeks.”

“The other patients will have to delay their care even more,” Dr. Elnahal added.

State health officials say it’s mostly indoor gatherings and parties contributing to the spike, not schools or businesses. Murphy says that makes it harder to contain.

“As far as we can tell, these are mostly gatherings that are beyond our ability to effectively regulate or easily enforce compliance,” he said.

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As US battles Covid-19, flu shot misinfo spreads

US health officials are pushing Americans to get vaccinated against the flu to help prevent hospitals already busy battling Covid-19 from being overwhelmed this winter, but false claims are threatening their efforts.

Misinformation on social media, particularly that a flu shot will increase the risk of contracting the coronavirus or cause you to test positive for Covid-19 — it won’t — is undermining the public health message.

One false claim circulating on Facebook and Instagram said a flu shot would raise the probability of Covid-19 infection by 36 percent. Another on Instagram said Sanofi’s flu vaccine Fluzone was 2.4 times more deadly than Covid-19.

A national study from the University of Michigan found that one in three parents planned to skip the flu vaccine for their children this year, with mothers and fathers pointing to misinformation, including the belief that it is not effective, as a reason.

“Primary care providers have a really important role to play in this flu season,” said Sarah Clark, research scientist at the Michigan Medicine Child Health Evaluation and Research Center, who led the study.

“They need to send parents a clear and strong message about the importance of flu vaccine.”

But with daily Covid-19 infections rising to record levels in several US states, false information remains a barrier to people getting vaccinated.

Jeanine Guidry, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies health messaging on social media, said: “There is so much misinformation related to Covid and I really believe that that spills over” to the flu.

Amelia Jamison, a misinformation researcher and doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University, agreed.

“Flu is getting caught up in some of the narratives we see about coronavirus,” she said. 

– Vaccination hobbled in 2020 –

According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), only 49.2 percent of people got a flu vaccine during the 2018-19 season.

Aside from misinformation, measures aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 resulted in fewer in-person preventive medical visits, during which many receive the vaccine. And other flu shot clinics typically offered by employers, churches or schools have been on hold.

High unemployment due to the economic fallout of the pandemic has also left millions of Americans without health insurance, meaning states will need to pick up the vaccine cost for more patients.

While the effectiveness of the flu shot can vary depending on whether the strain of flu circulating in communities matches the strain in the vaccine, the CDC said it prevents millions of illnesses each year.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the vaccine for all children over the age of six months.

Flu vaccine expert Danuta Skowronski, of the British Columbia Center for Disease Control, said: “We saw no association in children nor in adults between the receipt of influenza vaccine and coronavirus risk.”

– Social media response –

While social media platforms host misinformation, they also take actions to spread reliable guidance about vaccines.

This week, Facebook announced it would start directing US users

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