TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — The first child in New Jersey has died from the coronavirus. Officials say the 4-year-old child had underlying health conditions.
— Cleve Bryan CBS3 (@CleveBryan) May 8, 2020
“That precious 4-year-old — it’s unfathomable — is the first fatality of anyone in the state of COVID-19-related complications under the age of 18,” Gov. Phil Murphy said during Friday’s press briefing.
The child’s identity was not released.
The child’s death brings the statewide death toll to 8,952, but the rate of spread is now flat or declining in all regions of New Jersey.
Hospitalizations have dropped by nearly half since peaking in mid-April. However, when it comes to reopening the state, Murphy refers to a philosophy rather than a timetable.
“Public health creates economic health, and the data determines dates,” Murphy said.
The reality is, that because of executive order authority, governors in America are determining COVID-19 reopening dates and politics are becoming a big part of the health and wealth discussion.
Throughout the state, local mayors are exercising their power to reopen their public parks and beaches.
In Trenton, Republicans and moderate Democrat lawmakers are pushing the governor to reopen small businesses and allow non-emergency surgeries to resume.
Murphy continues to stay it is not safe enough to do so.
“We cannot think of the toll of COVID-19 only in economic or mathematical terms, but also in its most basic human terms. We have not lost nearly 9,000 of our fellow residents – in all of World War II we lost 12,600,” Murphy said. “We know we will lose many more, but how many and whether or not we pass another milestone is overwhelmingly up to us. Please, please, please keep practicing your social distancing.”
The New Jersey Hospital Association says, 14 days of steady decline is the closest thing to a magic number when determining the timing to loosen some restrictions. When the governor makes the call, New Jersey’s hospitals will be ready.
“Our hospitals are drafting plans and our hospitals will be prepared when the governor makes the decision that we can move forward. We are confident in the data that we are beginning to see that we are on the pathway to resuming elective procedures and surgeries. And we are confident that we will see something in the coming days or weeks ahead,” said Cathy Bennett, the association’s president.
New Jersey’s cases stand at 135,454 after 1,985 new cases were reported.
CBS3’s Cleve Bryan contributed to this report.