Murphy Posts Record 460 Deaths, Sees ‘Crucial Test’ for N.J.

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(Bloomberg) -- New Jersey reported an additional 460 deaths from the new coronavirus, a record one-day increase, even as hospital data pointed to continued signs of recovery.

Daily fatalities increased more in New Jersey than in New York, which reported an additional 306 deaths on Thursday. New York has more than twice as many cases as New Jersey -- 304,372 compared with 118,652 -- and it reached its peak of single day deaths, 799, on April 9.

New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli noted that the number includes fatalities that may have occurred days ago, while Governor Phil Murphy pointed to improvements in other data. Hospitalizations are down 15% in one week, and ventilator use is the lowest since April 4.

“This is a very backward-looking indicator,” Dr. Edward Lifshitz, the state health department medical director, said of the deaths. ‘A lot of this jump is going back” over several days and involves correlating databases, he said. “Today was an unusual jump” because so many Covid-19 deaths were confirmed.

The governor, who agreed on Wednesday to reopen state parks and golf courses, said this weekend is a “crucial test.”

“We will be closely monitoring the situations at our parks and golf courses this weekend,” he said.

Fewer Patients

Persichilli said 6,137 people were hospitalized, the lowest since April 2. In mid-April, she said, the peak was about 8,200 patients.

Deaths now total 7,228 in New Jersey and 18,298 in New York. That’s about 40% of all deaths that have been reported nationwide.

Earlier Thursday, Murphy traveled to the White House to press President Donald Trump for federal cash assistance for states in the next round of coronavirus stimulus. Trump praised the Democratic governor’s leadership but didn’t commit to providing aid.

The governor said the meeting already had produced results: New Jersey will receive 550,000 additional test kits and 750,000 swabs from the federal government, he said. More than 350 nursing homes also will get direct shipments of personal-protective equipment.

The new supplies will get New Jersey to at least double its daily testing, Murphy said. The governor has said that’s an important first step toward reopening.

“We had a productive and broad discussion” about Covid-19 strategies, Murphy said. “I made clear our need for direct financial support for our state -- not just New Jersey, by the way.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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