New Jersey’s governor said Sunday there are models that suggest the state’s coronavirus crisis is reaching its peak, but others indicate the worst impact may still be weeks away.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy told CNN that health care recovery must occur before economic recovery takes place, and he's concerned that reopening and relaxing social distancing too early could backfire.
“And I fear, if we open up too early, and we have not sufficiently made that health recovery and cracked the back of this virus, that we could be pouring gasoline on the fire, even inadvertently,” Murphy said.
The governor said his administration devoted significant attention this weekend to planning about how to keep people safe once restrictions begin to be lifted.
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Murphy told CBS that he supports a regional approach to reopening and that he has been having “discussions with our neighboring states on the whole question of testing, contact tracing, what are the rules of the road going to be for things like bars and restaurants."
Murphy said New Jersey is “fighting to stay ahead” regarding bed capacity, ventilator supply, personal protective equipment and health care workers.
Murphy announced Sunday that another 168 people in his state have died, bringing the COVID-19 death toll for New Jersey to 2,350. He said there were also 3,733 new cases of infection, making it nearly 62,000 to be sickened since the pandemic began.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
Police in Bedminster and Paterson both said officers with their departments died Sunday from COVID-19 causes.
Paterson Officer Francesco Scorpo, 34, died Sunday of COVID-19 complications, the department told NJ.com.
Paterson public safety director Jerry Speziale told NJ Advance Media that Scorpo, on the force since 2015, had been diagnosed with COVID-19 at least two weeks ago. His family includes a wife and two boys, 4 years old and 6 months old.
Bedminster Police said patrol Sgt. AlTerek Patterson, who graduated from the police academy in 2005, died Sunday morning. He had been a sergeant since 2014. Patterson was described in a department Facebook post as always smiling and someone who touched the lives of many.
Patterson was 38 years old, NJ.com reported.