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THE LATEST CORONAVIRUS NEWS & UPDATES

The following is a list of what we know so far that has been updated, cancelled, postponed, etc. due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: 


LATEST CRITICAL UPDATES (Check back regularly for more)

- Conflicting reports have surfaced about New York City possibly burying COVID-19 victims, temporarily, in city parks.

- There are at least 1,458 coronavirus cases in Newark (46 deaths)

- Essex County has at least 4,467 COVID-19 cases in Essex County (185 deaths) 

- Overall, New Jersey has at least 41,090 COVID-19 cases (1,003 deaths) 

- The State of New York has at least 130,700 COVID-19 cases (4,750 deaths), while New York City has at least 72,000 cases (3,000 deaths)

- The United States leads all nations with at least 347,000 cases, and over 10,300 deaths

- Worldwide, there are at least 1.31 million COVID-19 cases, with over 72,600 deaths

PREVIOUS UPDATES:

- NJ & NY Governors Phil Murphy and Andrew Cuomo announced plans for authorities to commandeer much needed medical supplies and equipment from places not using them and transporting them to needed locations.

- Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., Freeholder President Brendan Gill, Vice President Wayne Richardson and the Board of Freeholders announced that the 44th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Essex County Branch Brook Park has been cancelled because of the Novel Coronavirus. In addition, the officials are alerting the public that Essex County Branch Brook Park is closed and anyone coming to the park should remain in their cars to promote social distancing.

- A previous plan by the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service to make Social Security recipients file a return to access their $1,200 stimulus checks has been scrapped. The checks will be deposited in their bank accounts.

- At a press briefing, NJ Gov. Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey has extended its state tax filing deadline to July 15. Also, the fiscal year has been extended from June 30 to September 30.

- Wimbledon has been outright cancelled

- At a COVID-19 briefing, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that his brother, journalist Chris Cuomo, tested positive for coronavirus

- The Indianapolis 500 will now take place August 23

- Federal disaster aid is coming to NJ

- New Jersey has applied to have Standardized Testing suspended for April; graduation requirements will not be affected

- $900 million in NJ fiscal year spending has been put in reserve

- NJ Governor Murphy has directed utility companies to halt shutoffs

- Testing for people with COVID-19 symptoms only has opened in Newark as well as Passaic, Union, Bergen and Monmouth counties

- An Essex County inmate residing in Delaney Hall in Newark has tested positive for and is exhibiting symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The inmate has been isolated from the general population at Delaney Hall and is responding well to the treatment being provided to him by the medical staff at Delaney Hall. 

- In addition, the Essex County Correctional Facility leadership has been notified that a superior officer at the ECCF has tested positive for COVID-19. That staff member has not been at the facility since March 16th. The Essex County Corrections staff continue to take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the staff, inmates and detainees.

- The City of Newark has issued an 8 pm curfew for residents and essential businesses, while all nonessential businesses have been ordered closed outright until at least April 1. The same order was given by Governor Phil Murphy for the state of New Jersey.

- New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut have banned gatherings of over 50 people, as per the advice of the CDC. While there is no official curfew in place, non-essential and non-emergency travel in New Jersey has been strongly discouraged between the hours of 8:00 pm and 5:00 am. 

- The City of Newark has halted street sweeping and parking violations until at least the end of March

- All non-essential services in Essex County have been suspended

- Tax Day has been moved from April 15 to July 15

- These states have lockdown orders in effect: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia

- The Tokyo Olympics have been moved to Summer 2021

- The Real ID timeline could be pushed back

CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE:

- All schools in New Jersey since March 18 

- All shopping malls and amusement centers in New Jersey 

- Public schools in New York City and State and Connecticut, the city of Los Angeles, the city of Chicago, the state of Maryland, and more

- Charter schools, such as KIPP, as private schools are also closed

- In East Orange, all municipal buildings, city parks and the East Orange Golf Course will be temporarily closed to the public

- Many senior programs and centers in Essex County and beyond

- Weekend masses / church sessions in several locations

- Movie theaters, bars, restaurants, and casinos in New Jersey (as of 8 pm March 16) 

- Several libraries in Essex County and beyond, including New York

- All Disney Parks, including Disneyland and Disney World

- Macy’s stores

- Carlo’s Bakery

- Game Stop stores

- Some indoor banking services (Wells Fargo, PNC Bank, etc.)

ALTERED (Restricted or no general public admission):

Restricted

- Visitation at the Essex County Correctional Facility (restricted or none)

- Division of Senior Services meal program (restricted)

- Many businesses are under curfew

- Some stores, like Walmart and Stop & Shop, will close early

- Air travel

- WrestleMania 36 and corresponding WWE events, as well as other wrestling promotions

None

- Visitation at the Essex County Hospital Center

- The March 15 debate between former VP Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders

- Several television programs (“The View” “Good Morning America” etc.)

CANCELLED:

- The NCAA basketball tournaments (men and women), and all winter and spring sports

- The remainder of the 2020 XFL season

- SXSW

- E3

- The GLAAD Awards

- Wimbledon

- A Justin Bieber stadium concert tour

POSTPONED / SUSPENDED:

- The City of Newark State of the City Address

- The Essex County State of the County Address

- All African American Heritage Parades Organization (AAHPO) upcoming events. This includes the mixer, gala, festival and parade.

- Several council meetings, board meetings, and municipally-run events throughout Essex County and beyond (East Orange, Orange, etc.) 

- All public County of Essex run locations and events, including Turtle Back Zoo and golf courses

- All events at Newark’s Prudential Center until the end of March, including a Billie Eilish concert and an AEW wrestling show

- Numerous St. Patrick’s Day parades

- The Louisiana Primary election

- Shows on Broadway in New York City

- New York City has suspended alternate side parking until the end of the month. Also, a shelter in place order similar to San Francisco may be implemented at any point.

- The New York International Auto Show (now slated for Labor Day weekend)

- Boston Marathon

- The Kentucky Derby

- The French Open

- Supreme Court oral arguments

- Movies like “Black Widow” the James Bond feature “No Time To Die” (November 2020), “My Spy” (April 2020), “Peter Rabbit 2” (August 2020), “Fast and Furious 9” (April 2021) TBD: “A Quiet Place II,” “Mulan,” “The New Mutants,” “Antlers,” and more

- Production on multiple films and television shows, including late night talk shows

- The NBA and NHL seasons

- Major League Baseball until at least mid-May

- The Masters golf tournament

- Coachella

- Tribeca Film Festival

- Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction

- AFI Lifetime Achievement Award Tribute for Julie Andrews

- Kids Choice Awards

- The 2020 Tony Awards

- CinemaCon

- PaleyFest

-  “Night of Too Many Stars” benefit show

- All events in certain municipalities and states which have more than a select number of occupants 

RUMORED / UNDECIDED:

- The 2020 NFL Draft, in its public format (May be altered without large public attendance)

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) HITS HOME

By Walter Elliott


NEWARK - Efforts by public health and governmental officials to get ahead of any spread of the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus, in the matter of a couple of weeks to several days, have temporarily altered normality here, across the U.S. and among some 90 nations around the world.


The patchwork quilt of local to federal public assembly restrictions, curfews, closings and bans has left the Metropolitan Newark area with an activity level and atmosphere of a weekend morning - throughout the week.


Most interpersonal contact with others is either being done online or some three-to-six-feet of "social distance" - if at all.


The various public assembly limits - which can vary from 250 to 100, 50, 25 to 10, depending on the jurisdiction - has affected religious worship, shopping and visitations.


One has to think and plan ahead on who and where to go for getting various goods and services - including food and dining. One also has to be mindful of getting home before curfew - which is 8 p.m. around here.


"Local Talk," on March 17, took a 7:30 p.m. Newark Light Rail/City Subway home. The rail cars were 80 to 90 percent empty compared to most any other Tuesday night, as were the buses starting or ending their runs at Branch Brook Park Station.


The last leg home was an 8-8:12 p.m. walk home. "Local Talk" was prepared to explain, "I'm on my way home" should any law enforcer stop and ask.


The above is where Gov. Phil Murphy (D-Rumson) has called the 8 p.m. curfew as an advisory. Murphy, Newark Ras Baraka and other area officials, however, may make that curfew compulsory as early as when you are reading this.


Many events that mark personal or seasonal milestones - from weddings and birthday parties to the NCAA Basketball Tournament and the Kentucky Derby - have been either rescheduled for later or cancelled.


The new routine now includes taking school classes or working electronically from home - if your occupation allows. Some workers - from waiters to movie projectionists - find themselves furloughed and wondering how to pay their bills. Other industries, like Amazon's call for 100,000 more package transfer and delivery employees, have put out urgent "Help Wanted" calls.


Domestic stock and futures markets have oscillated from worst one-day plunges to 1,000 points-plus gains almost daily.


There are also the twin specters of tighter restrictions and growing infection numbers that may approach wholesale lockdowns mirroring Wuhan China, Italy, Spain and five San Francisco Bay area counties.


Election officials here and in several states are mulling whether to convert the Spring local and Presidential primary elections into all-Vote-By-Mail - or postpone them altogether.


The foregoing by officials are to curb any increase in COVID-19 infections, breakouts and deaths through direct contact or by "community spread." N.J. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli defined community spread March 12 as "person-to-person transmission without exposure to a confirmed case."


Latest COVID-19 statistics - from the first case reported from a Wuhan meat market Dec. 31 to 2 p.m. March 18- have 216,917 cased reported worldwide. Although 84,383 people have recovered, 8,908 have so far died.


There are 8,019 cases in the U.S., with 106 people recovered but 125 dying.


New Jersey's latest figures have 427 cases among 17 of its 21 counties. Five people have died.


New Jersey's stats included 32 cases in Essex County. Persichilli said "a 60 year old Essex County woman with underlying health issues" is among the state five.


It is not clear whether the dead person was connected to the 77-year-old woman who was tested positive and quarantined in Glen Ridge-Montclair's Mountainside Hospital March 11. The 77 year old, has been joined in Mountainside with a 66 year old Montclair woman March 12 and a 60-year-old man March 13.


One woman was tested at East Orange General Hospital March 14 and was found positive gave a Newark address. The problem, explained Baraka at March 17's "Virtual Town Hall on COVID-19," was that authorities could not find her at the given address Sunday. Authorities eventually located the woman that Tuesday morning and has since been in self-quarantine.


Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo (D-Roseland) announced Sunday Newark's first official case: A man in his 50s who is asymptomatic and self-quarantined.


DiVincenzo, in his march 15 announcement with Baraka and members of that city's Municipal Council, also listed two COVID-19 positive cases in Bloomfield, two in Nutley and one in Maplewood.


It is not clear whether any of the county's positive cases included the one who exposed him or herself to a staff member of People's Prep Charter School before March 11. The staff member informed PPCS's main office which promptly dismissed it classes Noon that Wednesday. The school, once the 375 students and 60 staff members had left, conducted a deep cleaning over that following weekend.


Nor is it clear whether that People's had cleaned its part of the former 1973 Camden Middle School building or had it conducted by landlord Newark Public Schools.


NPS, some seven years ago, had leased a floor to PPCS and had its own BARD Early College High School. People's and BARD have separate entrances and bell schedules. It is also not known whether BARD was informed of People's exposure and followed suit with its own dismissal and/or cleaning.


These details may have been lost in NPS and other schools' statewide closure on or by March 16. The Newark schools - like most others - are using the earlier Spring Break to conduct extensive cleaning. Schools and colleges have gone to online instruction and/or printed out lesson packets for between the next two weeks or for the remainder of the Spring semester.

CORONAVIRUS DECLARED A PANDEMIC

The coronavirus (2019-nCoV / COVID-19) outbreak continues, with an alarming declaration.


New Jersey: When the number of COVID-19 cases quickly jumped to 11, Governor Phil Murphy issued a state of emergency to get a handle on the situation. This news did not help one 69-year-old Bergen County man, as he became the Garden State’s first coronavirus fatality.


“We are sad to report the first death in a case of COVID-19 in New Jersey. Our prayers are with the family during this difficult time. We remain vigilant to doing all we can - across all levels of government - to protect the people of New Jersey,” said Governor Phil Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver in a joint statement on March 10.


New York: Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would be mass producing its own hand sanitizer to combat price gouging and shortages. Also, Cuomo declared that New Rochelle had the nation’s biggest cluster of coronavirus cases. Schools in that vicinity were closed until March 25 to allow for thorough cleaning.


Meanwhile, the United Nations closed off visitor access, and cut the number of employees actively working on the grounds until further notice. Also, the annual New York International Auto Show has been postponed until around Labor Day.


Stock Markets: On March 9, the Dow Jones Industrial Index fell a record 2,014 points, and trading was briefly halted after the S&P 500 fell 7% in the early hours of trading. Some of this could have been due to an oil war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. In response, U.S. President Donald Trump announced intentions to push for a payroll tax cut and expanded sick leave.


Education: Several colleges and universities, including Princeton, Rutgers, and Rowan in New Jersey, have halted in-person classes, opting for online learning instead.


Sports: The Ivy League cancelled its postseason basketball tournament, in which the regular seasons champions would automatically advance to the NCAA tournament. There is no word on how that will be structured amid coronavirus fears. While the NBA has told teams to prepare for the possibility of game in empty arenas, Lakers star LeBron James initially said that he would not participate without fans, but later backed down from that sentiment. This action may be echoed by the NHL, MLB, and NCAA as well. Reporters have been banned from locker rooms.


UPDATE: Due to a municipal San Francisco order banning gatherings of over 1,000 people, the Golden State Warriors announced that home games will be played without fans.


Entertainment: The SXSW festival was cancelled, while Coachella was postponed until October. Movies like the James Bond feature “No Time To Die,” “My Spy,” and Peter Rabbit 2” had their release dates pushed back due to virus concerns. Also, game shows “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” will go on without studio audiences to ensure safety. This is especially prudent in the case of the latter, as host Alex Trebek is currently battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and thus has a compromised immune system that would be susceptible to coronavirus complications.


Worldwide: The entire country of Italy was put on lockdown, as authorities ordered that all 60 million people were barred from holding public gatherings, including weddings, theaters, and more.


As of this posting, the number of coronavirus cases is now well over 121,000, with over 4,300 deaths - and more than 3,100 of those in China. The US death toll is at least 31, with most of those in Washington state.


On March 11, 2020, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) - the first known health pandemic since the 2009 H1N1 virus (Swine Flu).

COLLEGES TAKING DRASTIC MEASURES AGAINST CORONAVIRUS

Classes cancelled, campus gatherings limited, online instruction mandatory


By Lev D. Zilbermints


Across New Jersey and the nation, colleges big and small have cancelled classes, rescheduled important meetings, and began implementing mandatory virtual online instruction.


Princeton University, an Ivy League school, issues a statement to its university community that it was implementing measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.


“We are creating, supporting and mandating alternative ways of meeting our academic and other programmatic requirements in ways consistent with social distancing, Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber said in a statement to the university community. “This will include a mandatory, temporary move for all lectures, seminars and precepts to virtual instruction starting on March 23, 2020. To protect the health of our community, we will also need to limit the number and size of campus gatherings and meetings, and restrict university-sponsored travel. We encourage students to stay home after Spring Break. If students choose to remain home after Spring break, we will make sure that they are able to meet their academic requirements remotely,” Eisgruber wrote in the statement.


Patch.com reported that two Princeton University staffers were possibly exposed to the coronavirus. The two staffers are being tested and are currently in self-quarantine for 14 days.


Essex County College President Dr. Anthony E. Munroe wrote in his message to the college community, “This is a time if none other, to stay focused, come together, plan and prepare. Essex County College has been in the planning and preparation mode in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We have in place, the Essex County College Coronavirus Emergency Task Force. With representation from across the College community, we have been meeting and communicating regularly to prepare for, and respond to matters concerning the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).


ECC has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces; made sure that all hand sanitizer dispensers are filled; posted hand washing signs in all bathrooms; increased orders of necessary cleaning/disinfectant supplies; posted flyers and posters listing healthy habits which include steps to prevent the spread of flu and the common cold and COVID-19; CDC information; the NJ local Coronavirus phone number.


We will not be sending students, staff, or faculty to the Study Abroad program in China. We are currently evaluating other study abroad programs we have in place.”


The ECC administration has not made a decision on whether to close the school. There are talks on what to do, but nothing has been decided yet.


NJIT President Joel S. Bloom stated that “classes will take place virtually once we return from the Spring recess on March 23 and will continue in that manner until further notice.”


“Non-essential university sponsored travel to or participation at conferences, meetings, or other events where large groups are present is suspended. Approval for travel is required at the vice president level.


Teleconferencing should be implemented in place of in-person meetings in all possible circumstances, including small group meetings. 


All fitness centers and the pool will be closed immediately.


All upcoming group events/gatherings on campus or sponsored by NJIT are cancelled or postponed. 


No spectators will be permitted at on-campus athletic events.”


Rowan University said that it would extend Spring Break to allow the administration and faculty time to create online learning.


“While at this time no decision has been made to move all courses online following the extended spring break, we must be prepared for that possibility,” a statement on the university website said.


Rutgers University cancelled all face-to-face classes. A statement from Rutgers President Robert Barchi said, “beginning Thursday, March 12 through the end of Spring Break, March 22, all classes are cancelled. Beginning Monday, March 23 and through at least Friday, April 3, all course instruction will be delivered remotely. All face-to-face instruction is suspended. This includes any class meetings.”


Bloomfield College is still open, but its administration is monitoring the situation. In a statement on the college website, Bloomfield administrators said they will make the decision on whether to more to online instruction based on the situation in New Jersey and the region.


Seton Hall University has suspended classes from March 11 - 13, 2020. Classes will resume online from March 16 - 22, 2020. On March 19, an update will be sent to the SHU community by the administration. Meanwhile, those online classes that are scheduled will take place remotely.


Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency in New Jersey on Monday, March 9. Currently New Jersey has 11 coronavirus cases spread among Bergen, Hudson, Passaic and Monmouth counties.