Cape May County Coronavirus Cases Up

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Cape May, NJ – Many streets are empty in this tourist town. The Fudge Kitchen no longer passes those familiar chocolate chunks on a communal plate outside the front door. Cape May and Cape May Point beaches are closed. Traffic is light. Year-round residents in Cape May and other local municipalities got New Jersey’s stay-at-home message loud and clear. We’ve shut ourselves off in our houses and apartments, taking furtive trips to the supermarket for perishables. A walk outside is the day’s treat.

A Change in Direction

For two weeks, COVID-19 has plodded along, keeping a low profile in the area. Now it’s come out of hiding.┬áDespite our concerted effort to pull back from social contact, coronavirus cases in the county have taken a wicked turn for the worst. On Wednesday, April 1, the total number of COVID-19 cases in local municipalities more than tripled in just four days, from 10 to 33.

While the numbers are small, so is the off-season population. The trajectory is worrisome. We’ve reached what statisticians like to call an inflection point – the spot where there’s no doubt which way this thing is going. The change can be spotted on a simple trend line graph,┬áthe total cases on the left, the days on the bottom.

case-graph

We’ve hit the beginning of the unknown. How far does it go from here? Where will it strike next?

Young vs. Old

Right now, in these early days of the infection, COVID-19 is turning some expectations on their head in Cape May County. In an area where a quarter of the population is over 65 years of age, more than a third of those infected by the coronavirus are 35 years old or younger.

Only six, so far, are over the age of 70. We’ve been hearing again and again that this virus likes to attach itself to the elderly. These local statistics don’t bear that out. But they are early numbers. We have many days and weeks to go before we find out if that young versus old pattern continues. As of April 1, here are the coronavirus cases for each Cape May County municipality:

 

Avalon 6 Sea Isle City 1
Cape May City 3 Stone Harbor 0
Cape May Point 0 Upper Twp 2
Dennis Twp 3 West Cape May 0
Lower Twp 8 West Wildwood 0
Middle Twp 3 Wildwood 2
North Wildwood 2 Wildwood Crest 1
Ocean City 2 Woodbine 0

 

 

About Jane Kashlak

Jane Kashlak - a journalist, gardener and Cape Island resident - is writing a book.