N.J. to get 300 ventilators from national stockpile, allows craft beer delivery

A Newark police officer uses his car megaphone to encourage social distancing at an intersection in Newark, N.J., Thursday, March 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

A Newark police officer uses his car megaphone to encourage social distancing at an intersection in Newark, N.J., Thursday, March 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Updated: 3:30 p.m.

New Jersey will receive 300 ventilators from the national stockpile, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday, calling it “welcome news” but “far from what we ultimately will need.”

The state is seeking 2,300 of the life-saving breathing machines as a rapid uptick in COVID-19 cases pushes its hospitals to the limit. Officials said last week they expect a “surge” of patients in mid-April.

On Monday, officials announced 3,347 new cases and 37 new deaths from the virus. That brings the statewide totals to 16,636 cases and 198 deaths.

More sad news involving nursing homes emerged over the weekend as officials in Passaic County said the disease had killed eight residents and infected many more at the Lakeland Health Care Center in Wanaque.

Johnson & Johnson seeks vaccine for ‘early 2021’

Johnson & Johnson said Monday that human testing of an experimental coronavirus vaccine will begin by September and it could be available for emergency use in early 2021.

The New Brunswick, N.J., company also announced a $1 billion partnership with the federal government that will help it rapidly scale up its manufacturing capacity to eventually provide more than one billion doses globally.

The timeline is far quicker than is typical for vaccines, which Johnson & Johnson said in its announcement often takes five to seven years.

Many other companies are also racing on a vaccine to fight the coronavirus, which has killed more than 35,000 people worldwide.

The first testing in humans of an experimental vaccine, developed by Moderna Inc. from Cambridge, Mass., began earlier this month in Seattle.

Craft beer to your doorstep, guns stores can reopen

New Jersey microbreweries and brewpubs can now offer home delivery to customers after state regulators decided to relax restrictions, Murphy said Monday.

He also said gun sellers can resume operations on an appointment-only basis, following new guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security deeming them “critical” infrastructure. The state had previously deemed those businesses non-essential and ordered them to close.

“It wouldn’t have been my definition, but that is the definition at the federal level, and I didn’t get a vote on that,” Murphy said.

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