(Bloomberg) -- New Jersey is on track for the kind of viral surge New York is experiencing, the state’s health commissioner said.
“Our trends are tracking our neighbors’,” Judy Persichilli said of New York’s coronavirus infection rate at a news conference on Wednesday in Trenton.
New Jersey has 4,402 infections, up from 3,675 on Tuesday, Governor Phil Murphy announced at the conference. Deaths climbed to 62, he said. That’s up from 44, according to data posted on the state’s website.
New York reported a similar infection total, 4,152 cases, six days ago, and Governor Andrew Cuomo has projected a peak in 14 to 21 days. Persichilli said she expected such a growth rate in northern New Jersey, with a peak in perhaps 21 to 60 days.
“When we see this peak in New York, I think we can expect Bergen, Essex and Hudson counties will follow the trends,” she said.
The main object of the nationwide effort at social distancing is to keep the infection rate down so hospitals aren’t overwhelmed. New Jersey is asking the federal government for 400 ventilators, Persichilli said.
“Critical care right now is pretty stressed,” she said.
New York is now the nation’s coronavirus hot zone, with Cuomo warning of 140,000 cases and sparring with President Donald Trump over ventilators and other lifesaving equipment. New York City is preparing refrigerated trucks and shipping containers to store bodies if city morgues get full. By Tuesday, the city’s volume of emergency calls was higher than on any other day since the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
Murphy said a $2 trillion stimulus bill moving through Congress would help significantly.
Read More: Cuomo Says Stimulus Not Enough as Worried New Yorkers Flood 911
“I wish that had been in the $3 trillion-plus range,” he said, adding that the state would probably need more. But he said the bill covers much of his wish list, from hospital and mass transit support to direct cash assistance, and called it “a big step in the right direction.”
“We’ll take it,” Murphy said.
The governor said the state’s day care centers would close for most families, remaining open only for the children of essential workers like health care personnel and first responders.
“We are taking this step for a simple reason: We need all our front-line workers on the job,” he said. “A lack of child care cannot be a barrier for them.”
(Updates with details starting in fourth paragraph)
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