At a press conference today, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) reported 2,887 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in New Jersey with an additional 402 deaths. This brings the statewide total to 113,856 cases with 6,442 deaths.
He said there were duplicate test results removed from yesterday's total and that they are now using the 10 p.m. data each day to align with the data being received from New Jersey hospitals.
As of 10 p.m. last night, 6,476 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19, with 1,809 requiring critical or intensive care and 1,262 using ventilators. Murphy said these numbers are down significantly from last week's numbers. Additionally, there were 488 new hospitalizations and 419 patients discharged.
"The data that we show you is critical in not just gauging our efforts against COVID-19, but also gauging our readiness to put our state on the road back," Murphy said. "They are an important measure of public health, and before we can begin to look at restoring our economic health, we must secure our collective health."
Murphy also issued a new executive order that allows municipal governments to extend the grace period for property tax payments from May 1 to June 1. Without the executive order, municipal governments would only be able to extend this due date by 10 days.
The Daily Targum previously reported Murphy's plan for New Jersey's economy, titled "The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health." During today's press conference, he announced the Governor's Restart and Recovery Commission, which will be composed of individuals from various fields to help enact his economic plan.
Kenneth Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer of Merck & Co., and Shirley Tilghman, president emerita and professor of molecular biology and public policy at Princeton University, have both been appointed by Murphy as co-chairs for the commission.
There are another 14 individuals who will serve as members of the commission, including Jonathan Holloway, Rutgers President elect and former provost of Northwestern University, and William Rodgers, professor in the Ernest J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and chief economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers.
Additionally, Murphy said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver (D-N.J.), Chief of Staff George Helmy, Chief Council Matt Platkin and Chief Policy Advisor Kathleen Frangione will all serve as ex-officio members of the commission.
Members of the commission will begin remote discussions immediately, Murphy said. They have been tasked with advising issues of public health, workforce development and transportation, as well as finding ways to maximize future federal support, review potential long-term investments and ensure that the restart and recovery plan works for each New Jersey family.
"These are folks who did not need another responsibility, but from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of all 9 million members of the New Jersey family: I say thank you for your willingness and your commitment to serve," Murphy said. "I can't wait for us to get to work."
Murphy was also asked about the protests today in Trenton where New Jersey residents called for him to lift the state's social distancing restrictions, with individuals claiming these restrictions are a form of fascism and that their rights are being taken away.
"This notion of fascism is ridiculous, we're trying to save lives," he said. "This isn't a question of patriotism, this is a question of doing what's right - who's a patriot and who isn't - we're in here trying to save lives every single day. Do we always get it right? No, we don't always get it right, believe me I'm the first to admit that. We are absolutely, desperately trying to save every life we can. Our heart, trust me, is in the right place. We love our country, we love our state."