Friday Facts and Figures is a weekly newsletter with data points, analysis, and commentary on the biggest policy debates in New Jersey and beyond.
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COVID-19 Cases: 350,999 | Deaths: 15,373
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
The second wave is here: On Thursday, New Jersey reported a record-high 4,913 new cases of COVID-19, the highest number of new cases in a day since the start of the pandemic. In the last week alone, 281 residents died from COVID-19, surpassing the number of confirmed deaths reported for the entire months of September and October. Governor Murphy has instructed residents to avoid out-of-state travel unless it’s essential. The state has also banned all indoor organized sports for at least four weeks, and outdoor gatherings are now capped at 25 people. Please be careful out there, remember to wear a mask, and wash your hands. [NJ.com / Matt Arco]
According to new data from the Census Bureau, nearly 83 million adults — representing more than a third of all adults in the country — found it difficult to cover usual household expenses over the last seven days. The same survey found that one in six renters are behind on rent. These levels of hardship were both predictable due to the economic fallout from COVID-19 and avoidable had Republicans in Congress voted on the HEROES Act months ago. Instead, tens of millions of families are suffering, with the burden falling hardest on Black and Latinx communities, as well as households with children. Federal lawmakers are currently negotiating a smaller stimulus package, but much more federal relief will be necessary to fund the nation’s recovery and lift millions of families out of poverty. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities / Arloc Sherman, Chad Stone, Douglas Rice, et al.]
The movement to provide COVID-19 relief to immigrants and their families has a new ally: Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the Archbishop of Newark. Earlier this week, Tobin called on state lawmakers to pass A4171/S2480, which would provide one-time payments of $1,000 to immigrant families who were excluded from federal COVID-19 relief. “In these days of the pandemic, we have been using the word ‘essential’ more and more,” Tobin said. “Unfortunately, we rely on essential workers, but we fall short when it is necessary and appropriate to protect and compensate them adequately.” [Patch / Eric Kiefer]
On Saturday, NJPP President Brandon McKoy will join government watchdog groups for the launch of the Better Ballots NJ campaign, which will seek to abolish “the line” on New Jersey’s primary ballots. For those not familiar with the issue, the line refers to how New Jersey’s primary ballots organize candidates not by the office for which they are running, but by which candidates were endorsed by the county Democratic or Republican Party. An NJPP report from earlier this year found that the line gives party-endorsed candidates a 35 percentage point advantage in primaries, effectively allowing party insiders — not voters — to determine who wins these elections. Click the link to tune into the campaign launch! [Good Government Coalition New Jersey / Better Ballots NJ]
Big congratulations to NJPP Policy Analyst Vineeta Kapahi and NJPP Board Trustee Adriana Abizadeh on being selected as New Leaders Council New Jersey 2021 Fellows! New Leaders Council New Jersey recruits, trains, and promotes 20 young progressive leaders every year. Next year’s fellows class is full of all-star advocates in New Jersey politics, including some NJPP allies from SEIU 32BJ and Make the Road New Jersey. [InsiderNJ]
Another big congrats, this time to NJPP President Brandon McKoy on being named to the 2020 New Jersey Globe Power List! Click the link to read the write up. [New Jersey Globe]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Beatrice, NJPP Research Director Nicole Rodriguez’s partner’s roommate’s dog! Beatrice is 7-month old puppy who lived on the streets but now lives in the laps of luxury. She hates going up stairs, but she loves cuddles, belly rubs, and treats. She is also very stylish, as you can tell from her striped mittens (or are they socks?).
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