N.J. marks another milestone: 100 days since 1st COVID-19 case

It’s hard to sum up what 100 days of living with COVID-19 has been like in New Jersey, the second-hardest-hit state in the country and one of the world’s top hot spots.

Gov. Phil Murphy did his best.

“It’s hard to believe it’s only been 100 days,” he said. “And, it’s equally hard to fathom the impact this virus has had our state, our communities, our economy — and on our nation and our world.

“But, just as we remain committed to continuing our fight to save lives, we are committed to putting our state on the road back. We are committed to our restart and our recovery. We are committed to getting to the ‘new normal’ that we know awaits us somewhere down that road.

“For 100 days, we have asked you to take extraordinary steps. We have asked you to take to heart the need for social distancing. We have asked you to forgo so many of the little things that we once could simply take for granted. We have asked you to wear face coverings when out in public.

“We have asked for your patience as an unprecedented pandemic engulfed our state.”

Other notes from the daily COVID-19 briefing:

The numbers

Murphy announced Thursday there were 539 additional COVID-19 cases, raising the state total to 165,816. He also announced there were 70 additional fatalities, raising that total to 12,443.

The bigger news came on the number of hospitalizations: They were down to 1,512, which not only is the fifth straight day under 1,800 — but a drop of nearly 200 from the day before (1,701).

Other key metrics were down, as of 10 p.m. Thursday:

The number of patients in intensive/critical care fell to 445 — the second consecutive day under 500. And the number of patients on ventilators dropped to 319 — the sixth consecutive day under 400.

Best media question

Brent Johnson of NJ Advance Media: “When can a ‘legitimate’ massage parlor expect to reopen?”

Murphy said he didn’t have any guidance on legitimate massage parlors.

The final word

Murphy on how the state will enforce a limit of 50 people at religious services this weekend:

Unless (State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan) tells me otherwise, we’re not going to have police officers at the doors of temples, churches or mosques over the weekend. This is going to be, we hope, overwhelmingly self-regulated and self-policed.”

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