New Jersey has now lost more lives to COVID-19 than it did in World War I. After 362 new deaths were reported overnight, the state has now suffered 3,518 fatalities at the hands of the virus.
“We know we are going to lose more [lives], but how many more depends on [us] maintaining our practice of social distancing [and] of staying at home. It is working,” Gov. Phil Murphy said at today’s daily COVID-19 briefing.
With this backdrop, Murphy announced that all New Jersey public schools will remain closed through at least May 15.
“We need to be guided by the facts on the ground. It will not be safe to reopen our schools or start sports back up for at least another four weeks,” Murphy said, citing discussions he had with various healthcare experts and other key stakeholders, which ultimately led to the decision.
It is a decision that could potentially be viewed as a reason for optimism though, as 25 states have already extended their own statewide school closures through the end of the year. While the announcement is not a guarantee that schools will actually reopen on May 15, the governor said he “remains hopeful” that schools will be able to reopen.
Murphy also appointed Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and former US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to the multi-state council, announced earlier this week, which will help lead and coordinate the eventual reopening of the state and the economy.
Besser and Johnson join Chief of Staff George Helmy as the three New Jersey representatives on the regional council.
The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Financing Authority is suspending all rent increases at 36,000 eligible properties within its portfolio.
Murphy said that this will benefit thousands of low- and moderate-income families that have been most impacted economically by COVID-19 fallout.
COVID-19 Impact Update
4,391 new cases overnight
75,317 total cases
362 new deaths
3,518 total deaths
As of 10:00pm last night:
8,224 hospitalized due to COVID-19
1,880 in critical care
1,645 on ventilators
46 patients at field medical stations
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