Apr 6, 2020
Gov. Phil Murphy New Jersey COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 6
Governor Phil Murphy, who was joined by Senator Cory Booker and other state officials, held a press conference on April 6. He said the coronavirus peak in NJ could be anywhere from 86,000 to 509,000, and it might spill into the summer. Read the full transcript here.
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Governor Phil Murphy: (00:00)
… special particular welcome to Senator and dear friend Cory Booker. Senator, great to have you with us. We’ll hopefully get a minute or two to discuss the federal response. I was honored on Friday, I believe, to tour, the days are running one to the next, the field medical station in Secaucus at the Meadowlands Exposition, Senator, and I think the Senator and I are trying to line up our schedules to do the same. Senator Booker and I on Wednesday for the field medical station in Edison, New Jersey. So honored to have you, Senator. God bless you. Again, we were just on the VTC with each other together.
Governor Phil Murphy: (00:39)
A couple of folks in the audience, the director of the Department of Homeland security, Mr. Jared Maples. Cory Booker’s chief of staff Matt Klapper, dear friend, is with us and the medical director of the Communicable Disease Service, normally sits up here with us. I apologize, Ed. Nothing personal. At the department of health, Doctor Ed Lifshitz and Ed in particular will be here to answer any questions you may have on the epidemiological front.
Senator Cory Booker: (01:03)
Did I bump Ed out?
Governor Phil Murphy: (01:04)
You did, but Ed was very gracious about it.
Senator Cory Booker: (01:07)
Sorry about that.
Governor Phil Murphy: (01:08)
As we have been doing of late and will continue to do let’s get to the numbers up front and they as usual of light have been sobering. Since yesterday, we have received another 3,663 positive test results. That brings the statewide total to 41,090. Again 33,663, as you can see, new tests, positive test results bringing the statewide total to 41,090 and sadly we must also report another 86 deaths due to COVID-19 complications and with these, our statewide total has now eclipsed 1000. It sits now at 1003. Again, each one of these blessed souls, blessed lives, we pray and mourn with their families and friends and God rest them all. As you know, since the end of the week, our flags around the state have been at half-mast in whatever symbolic, but I have to say as well, substantive and heartfelt tribute to these lives lost.
Governor Phil Murphy: (02:26)
I also want to celebrate for a minute, four of the lives that we’ve lost. Literally, I just learned not many moments ago of the passing of a good friend Jersey City Councilman Michael Yun. I had literally exchanged notes with Michael probably about not … not more than a week ago. Look at that guy with that bow tie. He was a respected leader, not just in Jersey City, but in Hudson County. A good man, a great professional, a terrific husband, father, grandfather. We stand with Jersey City and with Hudson County in mourning his loss. We send our deepest prayers and thoughts to his family. An outstanding public servant and a really, really good guy.
Governor Phil Murphy: (03:13)
Colette Lamothe-Galette. She was most recently a senior program officer at the Nicholson Foundation, but she is remembered fondly for so many of her many years at the New Jersey Department of Health, Judy, as you know. Collette was raised in Newark, educated at Yale and dedicated her life to eliminating health disparities and improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations across New Jersey. She was a prominent voice in both population health and environmental justice policy. In fact, she was working with my wife, First Lady Tammy Murphy, in the search for solutions to our mortality infant and maternal mortality crisis among African Americans. She will be sorely, sorely missed and she was loved by so many. God bless you, Colette.
Governor Phil Murphy: (04:07)
Daisy Doranila. Look at Daisy. Bless her. She served as a nurse at the Hudson County Correctional Center for more than 20 years and we lost Daisy yesterday morning. She was a single mom. She lived in Nutley for many, many years. She was a proud member of District 1199J AFSCME, and I was back and forth with Sue Cleary, its leader, yesterday, mourning Daisy’s loss. I spoke yesterday with Daisy’s daughter Denise and came away with a deep appreciation for how much she gave to her family and her community. Again, a heroic healthcare worker, single mom. A blessed soul and a life lost.
Governor Phil Murphy: (04:53)
How about Susan Cicala? She was a registered nurse, there’s Susan, for 37 years working at both Clara Maass Medical Center and Northern State Prison. She was also a wife. Her husband Steven works for the state medical examiner’s office. A mother, a grandmother, an aunt and a sister. In fact, here she is holding her first grandchild, Justin. Her loss will be felt by so many and our hearts and deepest sympathies and prayers again are with her family.
Governor Phil Murphy: (05:27)
They joined the souls we have already memorialized including yesterday, on social media, Weehawken finance director and longtime Board of Education member Rich Barsa and Javiera Rodriguez. Javi was a member of the child study team at Becton Regional High School. Every single one of them, named and unnamed, was a cherished member of our New Jersey family and everyone will be remembered and never forgotten.
Governor Phil Murphy: (05:56)
I know these numbers can be scary. Seeing the faces we have lost makes this all the more real, I think, for each of us but we cannot give in to fear or sadness and we must resolve to continue our fight together to crack the back of this crisis and flatten the curve so we have fewer and fewer lives lost and friends to mourn and we can do this. We are now two weeks into our most aggressive push for social distancing. I know it feels much longer, by the way, for all of us. Trust me, we all up here feel that, too, but we have to do this. We have no choice. We have to take it seriously and we have to bat a thousand.
Governor Phil Murphy: (06:40)
Pat will, before we turn to questions and answers, Pat will give us a quick overnight compliance update. When we began our first discussions for responding to this emergency as far back as January, well more, by the way, than a month before our first case of COVID-19 was ever confirmed, we knew that our best chance of getting out in front and staying in front would require a data driven approach. As I’ve said many times before, and Beth embodies this, Judy and her team embody this, we are a moneyball operations. We think if you get the highest quality data and you make your decisions based on the data, you make the right decisions ultimately. We would not leave anything to chance or rely on anecdotal evidence to the very best of our abilities. We knew that only an objective fact-based, and as I said, moneyball approach would get us through this and it is through this approach that our aggressive stance on social distancing has taken shape.
Governor Phil Murphy: (07:44)
That’s an important point to note here. We didn’t just pick social distancing because it seemed like it might be a good idea to try. We did it based on the facts, based on historical and current facts. With great help from Beth and her team through the Office of Innovation, and I want to give a particular shot up to Lakshmi Subramanian, as well as in partnership with Judy and her team at the Department of Health, we have built a strong, bless you, modeling program that we can use with great and increasing confidence. So today, as I predicted over the past few days when we’ve been together, we’d like to share some of that data with you and what we could see together is that while we are not anywhere close to being out of the woods as of yet, we are clearly on the right path to get there.
Governor Phil Murphy: (08:39)
So here goes. The first slide, for example, shows the progressive rise in the total number of positive test results. As I have said many times before, we fully expect these numbers to rise to the levels they are rising too, and we expect them to go higher. However, what we are seeing in real time and over the past week is a decline in the growth rate of new cases, from 24% day over day on March 30th to roughly 12% today. This means that our efforts to flatten the curve are starting, and I say starting, to pay off even with the lag time in getting testing results back from the labs. There may still be anomalous days with spikes and troughs and we’ve seen them already, but the overall curve that we fit into the data is beginning, and I say beginning, and I use that word again cautiously, beginning to flatten. Our job now is to keep flattening it to the point where our day over day increase is not just 12% but is zero.
Governor Phil Murphy: (09:49)
That brings us to our second slide. The shadowed line shows us where we would be had we done nothing, had we allowed for business as usual. The second line below shows us our trajectory if everyone relaxed their social distancing and stop staying at home. So you could see the big uptick there. That’s projected infections and for those of you who may not be able to see that, that is approximately, Beth, 3 million infections, am I right? Yeah, I believe that’s 3 million. And you could see the opportunity to be meaningfully under that if we keep doing the social distancing. The range remains wide and it remains uncomfortably high at the high end, but it is, assuming we continue the social distancing, and that’s the key by the way, it remains meaningfully, even at the high end, below the numbers for which we had done nothing. Again, if we continue to practice our social distancing, if we continue to practice smart hygiene-
Governor Phil Murphy: (11:03)
… social distancing. If we continue to practice smart hygiene, if we continue staying home, unless we absolutely need to go out, or are needed to get to an essential job, we could stick ourselves much more toward the curves on the bottom. And if we do, we get to the peak of that flatter curve much more quickly, which means we can drop down the other side of that curve much more quickly, as well. Again, at a minimum, the peak between the lower curve and the upper curve is a 420,000… between those two bottom curves, rather, plus positive cases that we can prevent. This should be all the incentive we need to keep doing exactly what we’re doing. Because this is not a game, it is in every sense and we’ve seen it already too starkly, a matter of life and death. So this is projected infections. Let’s go to the next slide, we don’t have a lot of them.
Governor Phil Murphy: (11:58)
This is projected hospitalizations. And as Judy said, this is the one that she lives with. This is again, projected hospitalizations under a couple of different scenarios. If we keep our current practices, we could get through the peak with the hospital beds that we are preparing, the new wings, the re-instated buildings, the field medical stations. It will be tough, and it will be stressful. But our health system can get through this intact. However, if we relax our social distancing, and we put ourselves on the higher curve, we will overwhelm the system to the point that all of our contingency plans, and then some, will need to go into effect. Our healthcare system will be overrun with a surge four times what it could be.
Governor Phil Murphy: (12:49)
That is a nightmare scenario, on a good day. But in a sustained pandemic, such as this, it would be literally disastrous. We already are doing all that we can and turning over every stone to uncover every N95 mask, every set of gloves, every face shield, every piece of PPE, along with every ventilator we could possibly mobilize. We have a tough enough job as it is on the lower curve, by the way, but we believe fully that we can make it, given our rate of PPE acquisition. However, if you all stop, if we stop with our social distancing, and we go to that higher curve, then it is not only your life that is in much more danger because of lack of supplies, but it will also mean that our medical personnel, and our first responders, will be in that much more danger, as well. Our goal is to not just have the PPE and ventilators we need, although that is a huge goal, but to get them to where they will be most needed in the coming days and coming weeks.
Governor Phil Murphy: (13:52)
One more slide for you. This slide shows us the… Sorry, that’s the PPE needs I just went through and I want to keep, if you could. This slide shows us… The next one [inaudible 00:14:04] shows us currently where those of you… Which zip codes where currently those of your visiting covid19.nj.gov and taking our self assessment, are reporting from. And as of this morning, this self assessment has been used nearly 200 and now 9,000 times, so this is not the easiest to read, but the counties, the zip codes are in counties per se, Middlesex, two in Middlesex, two in Hudson, a third and Passaic, and one in Somerset. Those are the most often self-reports right now. From these self-reports, we can get an early snapshot of where Covid 19 symptoms are beginning to be exhibited and with greatest frequency. These are the potential hotspots that we are currently tracking, so we can begin to assess our future equipment and PPE distribution needs.
Governor Phil Murphy: (14:56)
Our goals from day one had been twofold. One: is to flatten that curve and to give our healthcare system the ability to withstand the onslaught. And two: ensure that the equipment and PPE or frontline responders need gets to where it’s needed most efficiently and before there’s a crisis. These modeling scenarios, which Beth and her team and Judy and hers are constantly updating our how we meet these twin challenges. I say constantly updating. Literally, these models tomorrow will look differently than they look today, and they look differently today than they did yesterday. It’s how we save lives. And it’s how we ensure that we’ll come out of this sooner, and that we come out of it as we know we will stronger, together. We could all take some pride in the work that we’ve done so far. The curve is flattening, but this is no time to spike any footballs or to take our foot off the gas.
Governor Phil Murphy: (15:55)
Even if the curve is flatter, we still have a week and a half to go at least until we hit the peak. This is not over, and not by a long shot. Our charge to you remains the same. Keep social distancing, keep washing your hands, keep staying indoors, keep being smart, stay at home. Now if I may switch gears before we hear from Senator Booker, and make a couple of announcements. First, today, I’m signing an executive order to allow retired public employees to return to work in whichever capacity they can, to help us throughout this emergency, without impacting their pension status. Right now we need all the experienced help we can get, whether it be retired law enforcement, or officers returning to duty, or nurses who can return to university hospital, or folks who can help staff the labor departments, unemployment insurance phone lines, and we need to remove any roadblocks that can keep them from service.
Governor Phil Murphy: (16:57)
On testing: a reminder that both the Bergen community college and PNC Bank Arts Center drive-thru sites, which we are running in partnership with FEMA, are operating still on a staggered basis. Tomorrow, April seven, only the Bergen Community College site will be open and the PNC Bank Arts Center site will be open, then, on Wednesday, April 8th. Each site opens at 8:00 AM and it operates until it reaches its capacity of 500 tests. You must be both a New Jersey resident and you must be exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness to be tested. Across the state there are 15 other publicly run and accessible testing sites. These can be found by going on Covid19.nj.gov/testing. However, there are many more sites being run by hospitals or other private sector partners that are not listed. If you believe you are showing Coronavirus symptoms, please call your primary care practitioner right away, and they can assess you, and if you meet the standard for testing, they can direct you where to go to get a test.
Governor Phil Murphy: (18:05)
Last count, according to Brady O’Connor, we had 47 testing sites around the state. And again, we have a symptom self-assessment at Covid19.nj.gov, along with a wealth of other information and resources. I want to thank the men and women of the IBEW Ian Leonard. Give, Ian a shout out as their state political director who made a donation of much needed PPE, N95 masks, and Tyvec gloves, jackets, and booties. So to IBEW, we say thank you.
Governor Phil Murphy: (18:42)
Couple of other updates: spent a fair amount of time both last night and this morning with colleagues fishing with our fishing lines out for PPE in places as far flung as the PRC, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Israel. Had a very productive session this morning with Bob Garrett and his senior medical team at Hackensack Meridian. Both to thank them for their efforts, and for them to update me what they’re seeing on the front lines, including things like converting cafeterias into hospital wards, and a lot of other really good work.
Governor Phil Murphy: (19:17)
As I mentioned, Senator Booker and I, along with Judy, and Pat, were just off of a very productive VTC with the Vice President. He and I were on the phone both Saturday and Sunday. We’ve already said this publicly. We got another 500 ventilators yesterday, 250 [inaudible 00:19:37] and another 250 are arriving later today, I believe. We also heard, which is terrific news today, that FEMA will extend its partnership with the state for the two testing sites at Bergen Community College and PNC Bank Arts Center until the end of May, May 31. So that was a huge lift of a burden off of us. We thought that for a moment or two that may have ended earlier. I want to thank Senator Booker and our congressional delegation for helping us make that case as clearly as it was made. We are going to have Department of Defense medical personnel with us beginning tomorrow, and Pat may want to give you a little bit of detail on that.
Governor Phil Murphy: (20:18)
Again, I want to thank the Senator, and our congressional delegation. And I just got off the phone literally with the President, so the details of this are early, but we had asked if we could have, New Jersey could have access to a piece of the beds that are on the U.S.N.S Comfort. And the President came back, called me a short few minutes before I walked in here, to say indeed, they would grant that to New Jersey. So that’s a big step for us in addition to all the other capacity. That news is literally hot off the press. And I thank the President and Vice President, who are on the call together.
Governor Phil Murphy: (20:52)
Before I close, I want to take a moment to salute some of the folks around our state who are digging deep to help us get through this emergency. Yesterday on Twitter, I gave thanks to Pennsauken’s Sean and Jeffrey Jones, the operators of Tailored Tutoring, who are providing free help to kids who were learning from their homes, as well as the craft distillers across our state, and there are many who have turned to producing hand sanitizer, that they are distributing to local residents, and public health and safety workers.
Governor Phil Murphy: (21:24)
Today I want to put a spotlight on Earth Angels for Dementia, a nonprofit based in Mays landing, Atlantic County, that provides services and support to caregivers who are helping residents and families living with dementia. Now they’re turning their focus to helping those fighting Covid on the front lines, Covid 19 on the front lines, by providing free meals to our public health workers and first responders. Right now these folks are working harder than ever, and we need to make sure they have the energy to keep up with this ever shifting landscape. If you’d like to sponsor a meal for some of South Jersey’s heroes, please visit Earth Angels for-
Governor Phil Murphy: (22:03)
… South Jersey’s heroes, please visit earthangelsfordementia.org, that’s earthangelsfordementia.org. I can’t thank you enough. By the way, if you have a hero out there and you want us to know about it, check out #NJThanksYou, #NJThanksYou. Let us know if somebody who’s making a difference in your life right now. We would love nothing more than speaking about them.
Governor Phil Murphy: (22:25)
Not just the individuals in the organizations nor can I thank you all enough for all the things everybody out there is doing that we need you to do in your communities, everywhere, your families, your friends, your neighborhoods. We’re working as one family should. We’re looking out for each other. We’re supporting each other. The best way we are doing that is by practicing social distancing. How crazy is that? We’re here for each other by being not near each other, but we’ve talked about this before. There’s a bond. There’s something bigger than each of us in all of us that we are establishing here in New Jersey like never before and I’ll bet like nowhere else in our country.
Governor Phil Murphy: (23:05)
Don’t be lulled again into thinking that we can hit our peak early if we can indeed cheat those best-case scenarios curves I talked about, that things go back right away to the way they used to be. It will be several weeks beyond that, at least, as we ride that downward curve. We all have to stay disciplined. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. In your frustration, your lack of patience, your anxiety, we understand it completely. We get it, but the only way we whip this is to stay doing what we’re doing, staying home, staying smart, doing all the things we’ve talked about in terms of how we win wars.
Governor Phil Murphy: (23:44)
We can do this. We’re New Jersey. We’re used to doing the impossible. God bless you all and thank you. With that, please help me welcome an extraordinary fighter for our interests as a Councilman, as a mayor, as a US Senator, as a guy with a life story unlike any that I know. Please help me welcome, Senator Cory Booker.
Cory Booker: (24:05)
Thank you very much, Governor. I really appreciate you. I appreciate your whole team. This has been a remarkably challenging time, but I’ve got to witness up close the incredible, really greatness of the Governor and his extended team. Martin Luther King was assassinated, the anniversary of his assassination was just this past weekend. He taught us the effect that it’s not where you stand in times of comfort and convenience, it’s times of challenge and trial and difficulty you really do get to see the true character of individuals. It’s been a privilege for me as a child of New Jersey to see at this time of our greatest, most unprecedented challenge that we are fortunate enough to have a Governor and the team that he’s surrounded with. We know now where he stands. I’ve got to see him at all hours of the day and night in the midst of this crisis. I want to thank him and his team. It’s been an honor of mine and my team to work so closely with them.
Cory Booker: (25:05)
Before I start with some of my prepared points that I want to go through, I do want to reiterate some of the things that Governor said about my past. I have been in elected leadership during 9/11. I was in elected leadership during Hurricane Sandy as a Councilman, as a Mayor respectively. Those were difficult and tragic times, but it might seem odd for me to say they were times in my life where I saw the best of America and frankly the best of New Jersey. In times of tragedy, of loss of life, of destroyed homes and businesses, we are a state that constantly defines ourselves as being a state that comes together. We show that we are Jersey Strong during those times of challenges.
Cory Booker: (25:54)
As a Mayor of our state’s largest city, even when it wasn’t a tragedy, a national emergency, I saw the capacity of this state’s compassion and empathy and action, whether it was the fallen officer or firefighter or whether it was a shooting victim or a house fire. I’ve seen the ability of our state to respond to darkness with overwhelming light and brilliance. This now is one of those times of unprecedented challenge where we are in the depths of a crisis that will endure for weeks on. It is a time that calls for all of us to demonstrate the best of who we are as we face this difficult time. I want to thank all of those heroes in our state, on the front lines, in the trenches every day from people who are putting themselves and their families, in fact, at risk because they are willing to sacrifice for others. That vulnerability as the writer Brene Brown teaches us is the necessary ingredient for true courage. We see that kind of courage and heroic nature in our state yet again.
Cory Booker: (27:13)
I do want to say something as the Governor so rightfully acknowledged the loss of life that we in this period of crisis and that our state leaders and folks meeting this challenge are dealing with a frenetic pace of activity, I do want to remind for the mental health of our state that we cannot trample upon this time of grief for so many New Jerseyans. This is a time of pain and hurt as there are people who are losing their parents and their grandparents and their siblings and their family members. There are also people who have put their entire lives, decades or years into building up their dream, a business or some kind of nonprofit that now see the clouds darkening and the potential of the unimaginable loss.
Cory Booker: (28:03)
This is a time that we should be present with our pain and our grief and be present for each other. That is not a sign of weakness. In fact, that only will add to our grit and greatness. This is going to be a very challenging time. These coming weeks will be a true test of who we are. I want to encourage us as we are isolated from each other, let’s still be present with one another. As we talk about social distancing, let’s still reach out to one another. That more than ever is going to be critically necessary.
Cory Booker: (28:37)
I am proud that in this time of challenge we have seen a lot of bipartisan work. Watching the Governor and the Vice President engage today only demonstrates our commitment to people and not to politics. As a result of that, some good things have come from a bill, the CARES Act, which I am proud of. It’s an imperfect bill. It doesn’t have everything in it that I would want, but I want to highlight some things that have come through and frankly highlight some things that are still in development.
Cory Booker: (29:07)
The first and perhaps one of the greatest concerns that we hear about is just the unemployment benefits for New Jerseyans. We are seeing unprecedented, record numbers of unemployment claims. I want to make a few things quickly, a few critical points. Number one, we have expanded the length and duration of unemployment benefits and those who are eligible. Right now, the amounts themselves have increased and there’ll be an additional $600 in emergency unemployment relief for the next four months. This means that New Jerseyans also who might not have been eligible are now eligible for unemployment insurance. Do not just assume that the old rules apply. There are now qualifications if you are self-employed, a gig economy worker, an independent contractor like rideshare drivers, all of those are now eligible for unemployment insurance.
Cory Booker: (30:04)
More federal officials are being called up to work in the Department of Labor to deal with this surge. There’s obviously long waits, but your resources that you get, yesterday the Department of Labor released updated guidance to states for implementation of the pandemic unemployment insurance. One of the things we should know is that the guidelines, the new guidelines being written, will provide up to 39 weeks of benefits to those who qualify. Again, an expanded qualification pool and something that I hope can reassure some people is that those payments are retroactive for weeks of unemployment starting on or after January 27th, 2020. While it may take you a little time to get through and get those benefits, they are retroactive back to January should you qualify. That’s very important. A lot of folks are asking about those direct payments. This bill includes direct cash payments. I was fighting for larger cash payments and for more frequent cash payments, something that we can go back to in the next bill. But for now, 80% of New Jersey families, 80% of New Jersey families qualify for these direct cash payments. As we heard directly from the Secretary of Treasury and the Vice President today, is they are intending that those first direct cash payments will go out the week of April 13th. That’s next week. Those direct cash payments should start going out for people who have direct deposit information already on file with the government.
Cory Booker: (31:46)
That again is the vast majority of New Jerseyans will get up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for couples plus an additional $500 per child. That’s up to people earning about $75,000 as individuals and $150,000 as couples. Those payments will phase out for people up to $99,000 for individuals and double that. If you filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, you do not need to do anything to receive that benefit. For Social Security recipients, you do not need to take any additional action, but you can go again to my website, booker.senate.gov/ coronavirus to find out information about anything that I’m talking about, but also critical information about those cash payments if you’re concerned about whether that you will receive them or not.
Cory Booker: (32:42)
Then finally, the biggest area that we’re getting people are reaching out to me about is that the bill includes an additional $10 million available per small business in New Jersey and nonprofit. This includes churches and religious organizations that have less than 500 people can get what …
Senator Booker: (33:03)
That have less than 500 people can get what’s called the New Paycheck Protection Program, and up to $10,000 in small business administration, SBA emergency grants for small businesses. This is a considerable opportunity for a lot of businesses. We are still rating some rules and guidance on this, but the program is already starting to get up and going, and I encourage folks again to visit my website for more information or the SBA’s website. And the governor and I are already talking about trying to make sure we find ways through our offices to streamline that because these are resources to our small businesses, helping people keep folks employed or bring people back onto work, as well as frankly help make sure that when our economy needs to pick back up after the governor sees fit to begin relaxing rules many weeks from now, that we have businesses that can get going full stop.
Senator Booker: (34:03)
I want to say that there’s many other aspects to this bill that bring critical aid to our state. Billions and billions of dollars, including flexible dollars for our state government as a whole, to operate money going to the localities, community development block grant money going out, but every single county, every single county in New Jersey will have streams of revenue that will be helping them, their localities or individuals. This was a very generous bill on many fronts and something that I believe could help a lot of New Jersey right away. I want to say finally that we are going to be looking towards COVID four. Me, Senator Menendez and the entire New Jersey delegation are already in talks that we anticipate more will have to be done. Comments to that effect have been made from the speaker of the house all the way to the white house themselves. And I want folks to know that my priorities in working with the governor are going to be to make sure that we get more resources for our municipalities, our county governments and our state governments.
Senator Booker: (35:14)
We want to make sure that direct payments to New Jerseyans, that we see more direct payments going and we’re going to be fighting for future payments. We also want to make sure that a lot of new Jerseyans who are worried about health coverage overall, there were 25 plus million Americans that do not have health coverage, including hundreds of thousands here, New Jerseyans. We want to make sure that we are getting more resources to them.
Senator Booker: (35:40)
And I have called upon the president to specifically make sure that we expand the enrollment period here in New Jersey and nationally for people that do not have health insurance, that we do the common sense thing to expand enrollment in the Affordable Care Act. Governor Murphy has come on board on my request along with Senator Menendez to make sure that we open a special enrollment period. The Trump administration right now has decided against reopening it, but really my question for the president is if you are not going to open up health insurance enrollment during a healthcare crisis that has killed close to 10,000 Americans, including over 1,000 new Jerseyans, then what are you waiting for?
Senator Booker: (36:33)
There are many New Jerseyans that have underlying health conditions from diabetes to respiratory concerns, that this puts them at even higher risk. Folks who worry that they might not have the resources to cover the medical expenses, we need to take that fear and insecurity off the table. I ask the president of the United States to make a decision, what he can do, to ensure that all Americans who want health insurance can get it through the Affordable Care Act. It is these issues and others that my office will continue to fight for. And again, if you need to reach out to me or my team, our office, we have people all over the state ready to answer questions or concerns. Please visit my website. But I will finally just say, to what the governor said, our strength ultimately lies with each other. Our ability to come together, to stand together, to work together in the state of New Jersey.
Senator Booker: (37:31)
There is no crisis, as we’ve seen throughout American history, there is no crisis greater than who we are as a people. And now more than ever, we need to demonstrate that strength, that unity now. We are seeing that already and I am grateful to the people of New Jersey for your continued grit, your continued courage and continued strength. I mean God be with us as we continue to work through this very difficult time. Thank you governor.
Governor Phil Murphy: (37:56)
Thank you Senator. Thank you for your fierce advocacy on our behalf. The Cares Act makes a big difference for our state. It’s not the final step as you rightfully pointed out, we need a lot more help, but boy, it’s a step in the right direction. On that same video call, I stressed, and I know you support this the most, the maximum flexibility in terms of payments to states, we need as much latitude as possible so we can continue to be there for folks who are sick or lost their jobs or small businesses. But thank you for everything, for what you’ve done and what you will do. Bless you. With that, may I introduce the woman to my right who needs no introduction, the commissioner of the Department Of Health, Judy Persichilli.
Judy Persichilli: (38:38)
Thank you governor and thank you Senator Booker. As I’ve mentioned previously, the department has been modeling impacts on our hospitals by this epidemic on a daily basis. The tool that we have presented to you is called Chime. It’s developed by Penn Medicine and it’s focused on the impact of the surge on hospital and resources. Today we looked at a model that indicates, similar to Chime, that the next two weeks we will see significant activity in our hospitals. As the governor shared, predictive modeling relies on several inputs, the impact of social distancing, and that was implemented in New Jersey over a series of steps just about 14 days ago.
Judy Persichilli: (39:31)
The number of positive cases reported daily, the number of cases in our hospitals and their length of stay by critical care and also by medical surgical beds. And along with the number of positive cases and cases under investigation, all of those inputs help us to predict the need for resources and hospital beds. You may also be aware of one developed by the University of Washington. They developed a model. It’s published online. Many people have seen it. It’s published by the Institute for Health Metrics And Evaluation.