New Jersey reported 965 new coronavirus cases and 16 more deaths on Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced, noting that the low numbers may be due to a reporting delay during Memorial Day weekend.
At least 11,144 New Jerseyans now have died after contracting COVID-19, the nation’s second-highest state death toll, behind New York, according to coronavirus-tracking authorities at Johns Hopkins University.
New York had 29,141 deaths and Massachusetts placed third with 6,372. Pennsylvania ranked fifth with 5,139.
Memorial Day marked the 19th straight day that New Jersey has reported fewer than 2,000 new cases during a 24-hour period, despite the increased availability of testing. The new cases reported Monday pushed the state total to 155,092.
A small group of people who support President Donald Trump protested Murphy’s coronavirus restrictions at Point Pleasant Beach on Monday, chanting “All businesses are essential!” and “Open New Jersey now!”
State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, a North Jersey Republican, told the mostly maskless demonstrators their freedoms were being denied “under the guise of public health.”
“Since when do we curb our businesses? We curb our dogs, not our businesses,” Pennacchio said.
State Assemblyman Jamel Holley, a North Jersey Democrat, was scheduled to speak but announced Monday afternoon that he was skipping the event to avoid mixing politics with the Memorial Day commemoration.
“It’s a choice I personally made once the focal point of my attendance changed as I saw the issues I stand for: civil rights, freedom rights, and justice begin to be distorted in a way that is not becoming of what I represent as a person,” Holley wrote on Facebook.
Murphy told CNN on Monday that he wants to open all businesses, but when it comes to indoor facilities like gyms and hair salons, “We’re not there yet.”
“I don’t begrudge their right to protest, but they don’t sway me,” Murphy said. “The only thing that sways me is the facts and the science and the data.”
The number of Americans killed by COVID-19 has now surpassed 98,000.
Across the nation, movement toward reopening has been defined by divisiveness, as demonstrators demand a quick restart of the economy and health authorities plead for more obedience to social-distancing guidelines. States including Texas, North Carolina, and Arizona have seen increases in coronavirus cases as they try to reopen.
Two more Philadelphians have died after contracting coronavirus, the city announced Monday, raising the total to 1,235 deaths. Officials announced 407 new cases, increasing that number to 21,641.
Philadelphia and its suburbs — the hardest-hit areas in Pennsylvania — will move to the “yellow” phase of the state’s color-coded reopening by June 5, Gov. Tom Wolf announced last week. Most businesses may then reopen, but gyms, salons, malls, and movie theaters must remain closed. Limits on public gatherings will continue, and restaurants and bars will remain shut to in-person business.
Pennsylvania authorities reported 15 more deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, raising the toll to 5,139, and 473 more people tested positive, increasing the caseload to 68,186. The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 in the commonwealth has declined overall since reaching a peak of nearly 2,000 in early April.