Murphy Warns Against Quick Reopening as New Jersey Tops 8,000 Deaths

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -
new jersey coronavirus
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy at press briefing in Trenton, N.J. on Tuesday. (Joseph Lamberti/Courier Post/Pool)

New Jersey on Tuesday reported 334 new deaths from the coronavirus, pushing the death toll over 8,000, and leading Gov. Phil Murphy to admonish those calling for quickly reopening the state’s economy.

COVID-19 fatalities reached 8,244, Gov. Murphy said, and the number of positive cases rose by about 2,500 since Monday, to 130,000.

The figures continue to climb, again surpassing New York on the day, which had 230 deaths, despite other positive trends in New Jersey: The number of people in the hospital stands at 5,328, which is a three-week low, and the time it takes COVID-19 cases to double has climbed above one month in most of the state, Murphy said.

Murphy pushed back at those clamoring to reopen the state, saying that he is hearing “morning, noon and night” about reopening nonessential businesses, as well as beaches ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.

“Nobody is itching more to get the state back up and running more than yours truly and the team up here, but we gotta do it right. We gotta do it responsibly. We gotta do it safely and we are committed to that whether, folks, frankly, whether you like that or not,” Murphy said.

Murphy has laid out a six-point plan for reopening, which calls for consistent positive trends, which the state has not yet seen with deaths and new cases. He hasn’t set a date for reopening.

A look at other developments:

 

NURSING HOME INVESTIGATIONS

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Tuesday his office is continuing to investigate nursing homes that have had a disproportionate number of COVID-19-related deaths.

Grewal said he wasn’t ready to announce any charges, but unveiled a website where people could leave tips about possible illegality: covid19.nj.gov/LTC.

The investigation stemmed from a request from Murphy after news broke last month of a “makeshift morgue” at the state’s largest facility in Andover, New Jersey.

 

NO MORE MARBLES

New Jersey has lost its marbles over the coronavirus. The National Marbles Tournament, which is held in Wildwood, is being canceled this year for only the second time in its nearly 100-year history.

The only previous cancellation was in 1944 and 1945 during World War II.

Organizers are planning a virtual marbles event June 21-25, open to children ages 7 to 14. They hope to return the championship event to Wildwood in 2021.