This afternoon Gov. Phil Murphy gave his grimmest update since the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, reporting the deaths of 69 New Jerseyans in 24 hours. Another 2,196 residents tested positive in the same 24-hour period, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 18,696.
“We continue to lose invaluable members,” said Murphy. This does not get any easier.”
The death county in New from the COVID-19 now stands at 267. The deaths overnight include a 33-year old Passaic Firefigher and a 30-year old Cliffside Park baseball coach.
“Stay at home,” said the governor. “Stay at home. We understand the cabin fever. The very best thing we can do is to stay home and keep your distance from anybody else, even when you’re at home.
“We’re not getting out of this in a few days,” Murphy added. “This is a marathon. We’re going to be hunkered down. The house is on fire and we’re going to be putting out the fire. We need to get on top of that curve and sit on it.”
The governor warned about people coming to New Jersey without a rigorous sense of his stay in place order.
“We’re not going to break the back of this curve just to be exposed to the lowest common denominator,’ Murphy said. “We’re not going to pay that price and have to watch that movie again. I don’t want anybody coming in from another part of the country where they had lax restrictions and undoing what we have done.”
NJFMBA President Eddie Donnelly released the following statement on the death of Passaic firefighter Israel Tolentino, referenced by the governor in today’s briefing.
“Earlier today we received the devastating news that Passaic Firefighter Local 13 member Israel Tolentino lost his life to COVID-19, coronavirus,” said Donnelly. “We can’t provide him with a true firefighter’s funeral. We can’t have hundreds of firefighters at his house playing with his children and consoling his wife and family. We can’t have food sent to a grieving family and friends because no one can gather. We couldn’t spend time with him in the hospital when he took his final breaths because no visitors are allowed.”
Also mourned by the governor, Ben Luderer was the coach from Cliffside Park, and starting catcher for the 2008 Don Bosco Prep baseball team that finished 33-0 and was crowned as national champions by multiple news organizations.
According to NorthJersey.com:
The death of Luderer has devastated the North Jersey athletics community.
“He is irreplaceable,” Cliffside Park athletic director David Porfido said Monday morning. “This should be a wake-up call for everyone.”
At the briefing today, NJ.com report Brent Johnson asked Murphy if he had been tested for COVID-19.
“I have not been tested and I am not symptomatic,” said the governor. “I hope it stays that way.”
Also during the question and answer portion of the briefing, Murphy reflected on his frustration at not bringing the noncompliance factor with his stay at home order to zero.
“I don’t know that I have a good explanation other than we’re not happy,” the governor said. “I suspect there’s some ignorance; some sense of people being above it all. Arrogance. There is no one for whom this is abstract. This is a virus that wants to find the lowest common denominator and these gatherings are that.”