New Jersey reports highest single-day death toll – with parks, golf courses set to reopen Saturday

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New Jersey officials reported 460 new coronavirus-related deaths Thursday, marking the highest single-day death toll in the state that ranks No. 2 in infections and deaths behind New York.

The troubling toll emerged just two days before New Jersey prepares to reopen state and county parks and golf courses as residents seek relief from government orders that have kept most people confined in their homes for nearly two months.

It also came the same day that New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy was visiting President Trump at the White House, requesting federal help to expand the availability of testing for the virus as well as billions of dollars in financial aid for its economic recovery, NJ.com reported.

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“We need a significant amount. This is a big hit,” Murphy told Trump in the Oval Office, according to Politico. “We don’t see this as a bailout, we see this as a partnership — doing the right thing in what is the worst health care crisis in the history of our nation.”

President Trump speaks during a meeting about the coronavirus response with Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, April 30, 2020, in Washington. (Associated Press)

President Trump speaks during a meeting about the coronavirus response with Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, April 30, 2020, in Washington. (Associated Press)

In a sign of potential progress, New Jersey also reported more than 2,600 new cases of the virus, marking a fourth straight day that new cases were less than 3,000, NJ.com reported.

As of late Thursday, New Jersey had more than 118,000 confirmed cases of the virus and had seen more than 7,200 deaths. Both figures are surpassed in the U.S. only by New York’s.’

Murphy announced the park-reopening plans Wednesday after hundreds of protesters gathered in Trenton, the capital city, calling for a lifting of the state’s near-lockdown orders.

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The Democrat stressed, however, that social distancing orders remained in effect, requiring residents to remain at least six feet apart from other people.

On April 11, Murphy ordered residents to wear face masks when picking up takeout food orders at bars and restaurants, and ordered NJ Transit – operator of public buses and trains in the state – to reduce capacity in order to help riders maintain social distancing, WCAU-TV of Philadelphia reported.