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New Jersey needs 'post-mortem' on COVID-19 response, Says Murphy


but the state still trying to 'save lives'

(The Center Square) – A “post mortem” is needed on the state’s coronavirus response but “we’re still working 24/7 to save lives,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday as the state Senate plans to establish a commission to review the state’s handling of COVID-19.

A vote on the commission will come in the next few weeks, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Republican leader Tom Kean said in a joint announcement on Friday.

The commission will not only look at the number of deaths in nursing homes but will also study how the state responded to unemployment and fiscal issues, the senators said. More than 40 percent of the state’s coronavirus-related fatalities are from nursing homes.

“I’ve said between 10 and 20 times that we need a post mortem,” Murphy said. “We have to do that as a country, but I guarantee you we are going to do that as a state.”

Murphy compared the commission to the 911 Commission created after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, saying that commission was not established until November 2002.

“Let’s remember the fact that we are still in the fight,” Murphy said. “We have new hospitalizations every day. For as awful as that long-term care fatality rate is, there’s literally hundreds of thousands, literally, of other residents, that Judy [Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli] and Pat [Police Superintendent Pat Callahan] are trying to save literally every day. And with all due respect, that’s got to be job No. 1 right now.”

Murphy relaxed restrictions for professional sports teams, saying the New Jersey-based teams can begin practicing and playing.

“Our administration has been in constant discussions with our professional sports teams about a modified return to operations,” Murphy said. “While leagues make their own decisions about operations, I am confident that teams are equipped to practice and eventually play in a responsible manner, protecting the health and safety of players, coaches and team personnel.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a similar executive order last week.

The state is discussing when youth sports can resume, Murphy said.

Murphy also issued an executive order that will allow outdoor graduation ceremonies for schools and universities beginning July 6. Schools must limit crowds, which under the current executive order are limited to no more than 25 people.

Those restrictions may change by July 6. Murphy said he wanted to give schools enough time to plan.

Guidance on the graduations will be released later this week, the governor said.


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