New Jersey Reports More New Deaths Than N.Y. for Second Day

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(Bloomberg) -- New Jersey reported an additional 311 deaths from the new coronavirus, the second-straight day that its casualties were higher than neighboring New York’s.

“It’s a staggering toll,” Governor Phil Murphy said at his Friday press briefing.

The state has lost 7,538 residents from Covid-19, more than the total number of New Jerseyans who died in World War I, the Korean War, Vietnam War, both Gulf Wars and those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Murphy said.

Though New Jersey’s hospital data are showing signs of improvement, their recovery trails that in New York, which is the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak and has more than twice as many people infected. Combined, the two states have 429,504 cases, more than a third of the U.S. total.

New Jerseyans’ actions this weekend will determine whether the state can take more steps toward reopening, Murphy said. State parks and golf courses will reopen Saturday, and social distancing must be followed, he said. At golf courses, tee times must be at least 16 minutes apart and carts are limited to one person. Water coolers, ball washers. benches and other equipment must be removed from courses and pro shops closed, the governor said.

“I want us all to be able to enjoy our parks together,” Murphy said. “What I don’t want to have to do is close them again.”

Murphy said he hopes to say May 4 or May 5 whether schools will be closed through the end of the academic year in June. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that schools throughout his state will be closed for the rest of the term. New York deaths rose by 289 to 18,587, but the increase was lower for a sixth-straight day.

State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said park visitors should stick to locations close to home. “We cannot abandon these vital measures that have helped us protect one another,” she said.

The testing positivity rate is showing a downward trend, to about 42%, from higher than 44% in recent weeks. More patients were discharged than admitted to hospitals, but the state still has nearly 6,000 residents hospitalized for Covid-19. Cases increased by 2,651, to 121,190.

“Data determines dates” for reopening, the governor said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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