It was another day of hope … but no promises. Or dates.
Gov. Phil Murphy is now hinting that summer camps, day care centers, youth sports — even, potentially, gyms and churches — may soon be allowed to reopen.
The details were lost in the familiar refrains of “we’re just not there yet,” “sooner rather than later” and “bear with us.”
Murphy, speaking at his daily COVID-19 briefing, said parents should hold out hope that summer camps will be open.
“I have a high degree of confidence, assuming the numbers keep going in the right direction, that we can have summer camp activating, we’re just not there yet,” he said. “We have a fairly sizeable army working on that right now — and I would also add to that day care.
“You’ve got day care, youth sports, summer camps, all of which are a fever pitch of putting together we feel are a responsible set of guidelines for folks. So, please bear with us. We know there’s a lot of demand for it. We’re not sitting on our hands, I promise you — but we’re not quite there yet.”
Murphy sidestepped a direct question of what the state would do if a number of churches and gyms opened before he gave the word, saying only that churches are more likely to open before gyms due to the nature of the activity.
Other news on from his daily briefings:
Murphy had said Tuesday he would have more guidance on graduations, which are allowed to begin July 6. He said that guidance would come later in the day Wednesday from the Department of Education and Office of the Secretary of Higher Education.
The hospital numbers, which have been dropping steadily, leveled off — or, in some cases, rose slightly.
Murphy announced there were 2,761 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, up 38 from the day before but still down 750 from 10 days ago.
There also were 583 patients on ventilators (up five) and 768 in intensive/critical care (down 18).
There were 970 additional cases, raising the state total to 156,628, and 148 additional deaths, raising that total to 11,339.
Overall, Murphy said the numbers are continuing to trend in the right direction.
“We are now well past the peak,” he said.
Murphy said he doesn’t want to miss a window of borrowing during historically low interest rates.
“We’ve got to take advantage of that,” he said. “And we have no choice to get both bonding approved by the Legislature in our own state and federal cash assistance coming our way as a result of an action by Congress.”
Murphy hopes the Legislature will act quickly. The Assembly has scheduled a June 4 vote.
“I want to make sure we’re at the front of the queue and not the back of the queue,” he said.
The final word
Murphy said he was hopeful about how the country would handle a potential second wave after hearing an optimistic assessment by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
It wasn’t any different assessment to the probability of a second wave — it was through testing, infrastructure and contact tracing infrastructure and isolation capacity — that we were far better equipped to deal with a second wave than we either were for the first wave as a country or we had been prepared in the past for second waves for things like H1N1.”