Gov. John Carney was often miffed at his counterparts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania last summer, proclaiming a few times that he was “mad as hell” that Delawareans were on their travel quarantine list because his state was averaging slightly more than 100 new COVID-19 cases a day.
But with infections diminishing by the day, Carney took pleasure Tuesday in contrasting where his state is now compared with that rough patch that caused him and residents so much frustration.
“You think about last year when we were debating with states around us and whether or not Delaware should be quarantined from those states,” Carney said during his weekly briefing. “We were talking about 100 new cases a day. So we’re down to 42.”
Carney noted that the positivity rate has fallen to 2% and that hospitalizations fell over the weekend to last August’s low of 29.
He’s also optimistic that Delaware has appeared to absorb a wide-open Memorial Day weekend — without capacity limits at bars and restaurants or masking requirements for vaccinated people — with minimal impact on public health.
“It’s a big relief so far and we’re probably almost through it,” the governor said of the fact that it’s been 10 days since the holiday and cases have gone down — not up.
“There was a lot of activity out there. There were a lot of people feeling the freedom, the relief, and so many were vaccinated.”
Carney also used the briefing to continue to push the reluctant and hesitant to get vaccinated so Delaware can reach President Biden’s nationwide goal of 70% of adults with one shot by July 4 — less than four weeks away.
The governor is especially focused on adults ages 18 to 49 because fewer than half have received at least one shot. That contrasts with more than two-thirds of residents ages 50 to 64, and more than 9 in 10 people ages 65 and above.
To date, 67.5% of adult Delawareans have received at least one vaccine shot, according to data by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That figure is higher than the 61.5% on Delaware’s vaccination web page because the federal data includes about 56,000 residents vaccinated in other states. Delaware’s page only shows vaccinations done within the state.
“I’ll feel better when we hit 70% so we can have a big Fourth of July party,’’ Carney said.
He reminded the unvaccinated that everybody who does get at least one shot by June 29 will be entered into drawings to win a cash prize of $302,000 — a number selected because the state’s area code for phone numbers is 302 — as well as two low-digit license plates,which are often worth six figures.
“Delaware wins when everybody gets vaccinated,’’ he said.