PARSIPPANY, New Jersey --- New Jersey is not immune to the increasing novel coronavirus as it has spread quickly through the northern part of the state in the last month.
The first case was reported on January 21 in Washington State, according to the NYTimes. Now, there are 144,499 reported cases and 2,602 deaths in the United States, with 4,573 recovered, according to worldometers.info. With the close proximity to New York City, the state of New Jersey has accumulated 13,386 known cases and 161 deaths, according to New Jersey COVID-19 information page.
Bergen County is New Jersey’s county with the most reported cases, at 2,169 and nine deaths, according to NJ.gov. As of yet, Parsippany has 54 reported cases. The oldest, an 88-year-old female, is still recovering at the hospital and the youngest, a 34-year-old male, was reported to be quarantining at home, according to Soriano.
Despite the fact that Parsippany has low data points, the town - and Morris County - have been significantly shut down.
Working From Home
As schools have been shut down nationwide and adults are told to work from home, quarantine life has become all too familiar for families all across New Jersey.
Alex Nussbaum, a news editor at NorthJersey.com and an energy writer at Bloomberg, said this has been the most intense time for him in his 30 years as a journalist.
“The only thing I can compare it to is the days after 9/11, when I was a reporter,” Nussbaum said. “There is the same ceaseless pace of breaking news, the adrenaline of covering a huge story and, under it all, the dread of what happened and what may still happen.”
Nussbaum said this time is exhilarating, but it takes up all of his time. He said that although his 15-year-old son is home from school, he doesn’t feel he’s been able to spend time with him.
“I spend much of the day on the phone, email, text, chat, etc., working with reporters and editors,” Nussbaum said. “My wife works in p.r. for a local hospital and still goes to work every day. She comes home and we share war stories from different ends of the epidemic. On Sunday morning, we had dueling COVID-19 conference calls in our house -- she was downstairs on a hospital call while I was upstairs talking with reporters.”
Students from Quinnipiac University are no strangers to this process. Halfway through spring break, students were notified that their classes would be moved entirely online. A few days later, they were updated that they would be unable to live on campus for the remainder of the semester.
Jude Capriglione, sophomore psychology major at Quinnipiac, said the transition to online classes has been unfortunate.
“I genuinely liked all of my classes,” Capriglione said. “I loved where I lived and the rhythm of this spring semester. Having to come back earlier than expected and spend two extra months at home was a disappointment.”
Jennifer Goodlin Page, a Parsippany resident, said both her and her husband are out of work and it has been difficult getting resources.
“I would like wipes but there’s no way I’m getting any,” she said. “Just found gloves yesterday so that helps with the cleaning.”
Page said her neighbor, that lives in the apartment below her, could potentially have coronavirus.
“We have had ambulances on two different nights blocking our door,” Page said. “People in hazmat suits. I heard her say something about a fever. I know it’s everywhere, I get that but I’d like to know if she does have it. We share a common entryway so that means door handles and a small area of air.”
Murphy instituted an executive order on March 21 and announced that “all further gatherings are canceled until further notice.” He also said that this includes weddings and parties of any sort.
Murphy continued, acknowledging the frustration and disappointment he said New Jersey residents will be feeling at the announcement. However, Murphy said, his “job is to make sure we get through this emergency so that you can safely gather with family and friends later and enjoy many more birthdays and weddings in the years to come.
All over Morris County on March 16, restaurants and bars were told to shut down their dining rooms and serve food only through takeout. In an effort to support their community, restaurants are still seeking out ways to get food to their customers. Zinburger in Morristown announced on their Facebook page they are offering discounts and Taphouse Grill in Wayne said they are bummed to be closing temporarily.
Until further notice, all pharmacies and grocery stores remain open for any non-essential personnel A. On Twitter, people are talking about the anxiety that result from mass runs to grocery stores.
Stop & Shop in New Jersey announced on March 18 in a press release that customers over the age of 60 would be given the opportunity to shop between 6 and 7:30 a.m., called “Senior Shopping Hour.” The president of Stop & Shop, Gordon Reid, said these hours are for the elderly and any “customers who may have weakened immune systems and are more susceptible to COVID-19.”
Police Athletic League
The Parsippany Police Athletic League (PAL), an epicenter for youth engagement in the town, shut down on March 12, after the executive director, Sam Yodice, announced on Facebook.
Social distancing in all forms is the best method of controlling this outbreak. Community spread is low at this time, therefore social distancing techniques might have the greatest impact and safety of all. - Sam Yodice