This past weekend, Gov. Phil Murphy had a phone discussion with President-elect Joe Biden, touching upon the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing need for federal stimulus money and moving forward with infrastructure investment.
“As it relates to the pandemic, the president-elect has put together a tremendous, talented and experienced team of experts to guide thinking and policy making,” Murphy said today at his daily COVID-19 press briefing.
“We discussed the need for a smooth rollout of vaccines as that process will be handed off from the current administration to the incoming one. I have every confidence in the president-elect and his team that this process will continue without disruption,” Murphy said.
Regarding a stimulus package, Murphy continued his call for more aid from Washington, D.C. He said he was pleased to discuss a comprehensive stimulus package with Biden that would hopefully get through the next Congress and onto the new president’s desk.
Asked how bad things were today without stimulus money, Murphy said, “It’s bad! Look no further than someone who is unemployed or a restaurant owner. We have no lifeline to throw these folks right now. So, if we have to shut something down, we better be sure that (the decision) is based on transmission and facts.”
He said if everything shuts down in the absence of a stimulus, “these folks are going on the rocks … they are out of business, not just shuttered for a few weeks.”
He said he has had great cooperation and a good partnership with the current Trump administration, adding, “I would be remiss not to thank all of the current administration players who have helped us.”
The governor also said that the deadline for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA) Personal Protective Equipment discount program for small businesses is this Thursday, Dec. 10. Small businesses still have time to register for the program and obtain “up to 70% discounts” on PPE purchases by going to www.COVID.NJ.gov/ppeaccess.
“The discount program is just one of the ways the NJEDA has been stepping up to help tens of thousands of small businesses get through the pandemic in addition to the grants, loans and capital guarantees it has put forward for throughout the state,” Murphy said.
Dr. Edward Lifshitz, medical director of the New Jersey Department of Health, reported a new high of more than 6,000 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday. Additionally, there were 5,300 new cases reported on Friday and Saturday.
In New Jersey hospitals yesterday, there were 3,110 positive COVID-19 patients being treated – along with 236 patients awaiting test results – for 3,346 total hospitalizations. Of these patients, 637 required intensive care treatment, with 391 requiring the use of ventilators. There were 55 hospital deaths reported in the past 24 hours.
This coming Wednesday, the governor will provide a detailed COVID-19 model for the state, looking at the expected trend for the coming weeks and months. “The near term is not pretty,” he said.
As for preparedness, Murphy did say the state is in better shape regarding vital equipment compared to last spring, when “we were about to run out of hospital beds, ventilators and PPE. … We were on the edge.”
“The fact of the matter is, we spent the last six to seven months rebuilding those capacities,” Murphy continued. “Hospitalizations are up and will go higher, but we are still 5,000 beds shy of the peak period. There are 2,600 ventilators in the state supply and more than 100 million pieces of PPE.”
Marking the 79th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Murphy quoted President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who addressed Congress and the nation the day after the attack.
“Roosevelt said, ‘With the unbound determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.’ … Let us resolve the same on Dec. 7, 2020. … Let’s wins this war!” Murphy said.
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