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: 216,994 | Deaths: 14,408
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
2 to 3 Times
A new report by NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Brittany Holom finds that New Jersey’s Black and Latinx residents are two to three times more likely to be harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic than their white counterparts. This is happening all across the state, the report finds, not just in the counties hit first or hardest by the pandemic. No matter how you measure it — positive COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths — residents of color are disproportionately impacted due to the nation’s long history of racist policies and the underfunding of public health initiatives, especially those that advance equity. As Brittany tells PIX 11 News, “This, of course, goes back to policies of segregating, whether it’s segregated neighborhoods, segregated schools, access to nutritious food.” [PIX 11 / Christie Duffy]
It’s official: New Jersey has launched its own state-run health insurance marketplace, Get Covered New Jersey, and hundreds of thousands of residents will pay less for health care as a result. A state-based exchange will allow New Jersey to go beyond the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by extending the open enrollment period, offering more subsidies for low- and moderate-income residents, and offering more choices. The average premium for 2021, when including federal tax credits and new state subsidies, will drop to $117 a month, compared to $164 a month last year. This is welcome news to the 800,000 residents whose health coverage has been threatened by the Trump administration’s ongoing sabotage of the ACA. [NorthJersey.com / Lindy Washburn]
The lack of federal COVID-19 relief has pushed eight million U.S. residents into poverty since May, according to new studies from researchers at Columbia University, the University of Chicago, and Notre Dame. After the CARES Act expanded the social safety net and provided millions with stimulus checks and expanded unemployment insurance benefits, the aid is now largely exhausted and poverty has spiked to levels higher than before the pandemic started. “These numbers are very concerning,” said Bruce D. Meyer, an economist at the University of Chicago. “They tell us people are having a lot more trouble paying their bills, paying their rent, putting food on the table.” This should underscore the need for immediate and significant relief from the federal government. Democrats in Congress passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act in May, but the proposal has yet to go up for a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate. [The New York Times / Jason DeParle]
On Thursday, Governor Murphy extended the state’s moratorium on utility shutoffs through March 15, 2021. This means that no household in the state can have its electricity, gas, or water shut off due to non-payment. For households where children are attending school remotely, the moratorium also applies to internet shutoffs. “Our message to residents is clear — as this pandemic and its economic fallout continues, we will continue to have your back,” said Governor Murphy. “And as the winter months get closer and closer, no one should fear losing the ability to heat their home.” [NJ.com / Sophie Nieto-Munoz]
Notice anything different about this week’s Friday Facts and Figures? That’s because NJPP has a new logo and visual identity — one that is as clear and concise as our research, as bold as our policy solutions, and as adaptable as our staff. Click the link to read more about the thought process behind our new look and website. [NJPP / Brandon McKoy]
Pets of NJPP
We have another reader-submitted Pet of NJPP! Meet Oliver, Lizzie Foley’s co-working pup. While Oliver has called New Jersey for the past year and a half, he was born in Puerto Rico, where he was abandoned at and rescued from a golf course. After completing puppy training bootcamp for a week, Oliver was declared “not very interested in obedience,” which Lizzie can attest to. He is not a fan of the outside word and hates going for walks, but he is a fan of diet dog food, even though he really doesn’t need it.
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