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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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The Wrap: Delta, CDC Guidance for Schools, Rescues, Police Activity and Offshore Wind

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July 26-Aug. 1: 
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said “the war has changed” due to the delta variant. Mask guidance was revised, and school policies may be upended as the start of the year looms. Life goes on, with summer crowds, dramatic rescues and a community that responds after a disaster. Meanwhile, legal troubles claim attention, with police reporting illegal weed sales in Court House, a potential criminal misuse of funds in Cape May, and reported violent attacks in North Wildwood. The week also saw the state move to speed wind farm implementation.
Delta is Here and Demanding Attention 
In two weeks, Cape May County’s active Covid infections climbed from 28 to 177. The average weekly new case count moved from three per day to 22. What’s different? The delta variant is now found in 75% of New Jersey cases sequenced in the last four weeks. Delta is here, it’s more contagious and it has the CDC changing its mask guidance again. 
This week, the CDC advised even fully vaccinated people to return to masks indoors in public places. The new science shared by the CDC says that fully vaccinated people have a low risk of severe outcomes from an infection, but delta can use even fully vaccinated individuals to shed itself into the community, posing the greatest risk for the unvaccinated.  
CDC internal presentation made it to the public domain this week in which staff urged the agency to announce that “the war has changed.” 
CDC: Mask up in Schools 
The CDC July 9 announced new guidance for schools reopening, urging masking for vaccinated and unvaccinated students, staff and teachers.  
Gov. Phil Murphy July 12 stuck with the policy he announced in June, leaving final decisions on masking to district school boards based on local circumstances. Murphy said depending on health data, a decision on masking could be made just before schools open. 
Murphy said, “Our metrics are trending in the wrong direction,” adding that New Jersey is much better off than many other states.  
Vaccine hesitancy is now meeting policy hesitancy. Officials appear to be keeping all options open, leaving residents a fluid context for planning. 
Summer Crowds Often Mean More Rescues 
This week, the Coast Guard performed two helicopter rescues. In the first, seven individuals were rescued from a fishing vessel in inclement weather 68 miles southeast of Cape May.  
Two days later, a 56-year-old woman was reported as unconscious after a 150-foot dive off a diving vessel. She was medically evacuated to the closest decompression chamber available at the University of Pennsylvania.  
Also this week, Ocean City lifeguards responded to a woman face down in the water and unresponsive. They had the woman breathing on her own by the time EMTs arrived.  
Sadly, not everyone comes back. This week, Aaron Greenberg’s name was added to the Lost Fishermen’s Memorial, in Cape May. Friends and family gathered to remember the 45-year-old husband and father, who died when a fishing vessel he was on overturned in December 2020. 
community can make a difference and this week, one did. After a family lost the use of their home to a fire in Villas, neighbors and other residents responded with food, money and other assistance. The family’s problem is far from solved, but they found they were not alone in the struggle. 
Police Activity 
An investigation responding to a citizen complaint led to the arrest of two men at a smoke and specialty shop in Court House. The men allegedly decided to jump the gun on regulated marijuana sales and enter the business on their own initiative.  
The Cape May County prosecutor was asked to determine if the misuse of affordable housing funds, in Cape May, represents a crime. A total of $100,000 in stipends were issued to seven individuals by the outgoing city manager, including himself, as the administration changed in January. 
A July governing body meeting was the venue for several North Wildwood residents who wanted to report violent attacks in the city. The attackers are often juveniles, witnesses said, roving in groups. “Secure this city,” was the message to municipal officials.  
Offshore Wind 
Murphy signed a new bill that removes much of the traditional control that municipal governments have regarding the laying of cables in their streets. The new law makes an important exception for offshore wind projects seeking to bring transmission cables from wind farms to land-based connection points for the electrical grid.  
While some in the county are expressing objections to the wind farms, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities made a second award to the Danish company Orsted for Ocean Wind II, a new wind farm to be located “adjacent” to Ocean Wind I.  
Home-schoolers Fight for Right to Play Sports 
The family of a local home-schooler is asking Middle Township School District to change its policy regarding participation in sports and extracurricular activities. State regulation allows participation if the local school board permits it.  
Spout Off of the Week  
Middle Township – We should not teach children their place in society rather children should be taught that America has always been a place where they can create the place in society they wish. Critics of foundational learning should consider the number of people crashing our borders for the opportunity to be all they can be which our history has provided however imperfectly.  
Read more spouts at spoutoff.capemaycountyherald.com.   

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