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COVID-19 Coronavirus. Photo courtesy of Alachua County Board of Health.

Murphy: ‘We are in a war’

By David Wildstein, April 04 2020 1:36 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy announced that 846 New Jerseyans have died of coronavirus and 34,124 state residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

There were 200 new deaths and 4,331 new positive tests since yesterday, the governor said.

“We have now lost nearly 100 more of our fellow New Jerseyans to COVID-19 than we did in the September 11th attacks,” Murphy said.  “Let that sink in for just a moment. This pandemic is writing one of the greatest tragedies in our state’s history.”

Commissioner of Labor Ron Asaro-Angelo said more than 362,000 New Jerseyans have applied for unemployment over last two weeks.

Murphy said he renewed his appeal to Vice President Mike Pence and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner for 1,650 more ventilators.

“We also discussed the need for flexibility for our field medical stations,” Murphy said of his call with Kushner.

The governor also said he sought the advice of former President Bill Clinton in a call this morning.

Murphy announced that the state is adding hospital capacity “as quickly as we can.”

“We’re working with all of our hospitals to rapidly and significantly increase bed capacity,” he said. “We’re building-out new wings and bringing vacated buildings back online. We’re building-out our field medical stations.”

The governor and State Police superintendent Patrick Callahan said they are giving counties and municipalities the ability to “prohibit all rentals to transient guests or seasonal tenants, for the duration of this emergency, including hotels and motels.?

“Social distancing does not work by relocating to the shore,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he will exercise considerable caution as he maps out the state’s recovery.

“We’re going through hell together. I’ll be darned if we do that more than once,” Murphy said.  “This is going to be longer than anyone wants, but we’ve got to be sure that we not only crack the back of the reality here, but as we begin to open things up again, we don’t inadvertently put gasoline back on the fire.”

“This is war.  We are in a war. How do you win wars?” Murphy asked. “You don’t panic, and you don’t go business as usual.  You win it by being smart, aggressive, proactive, shooting straight with each other.  Being honest about the toll that is both before us and will continue to grow.”

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