EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen is joined by his fellow doctor-mayor Phillip Kramer of Franklin Township in entreating Governor Phillip Murphy to order a statewide closure of daycare centers for children and adults and to place alll of New Jersey on lockdown for the next two weeks to "flatten the curve" in the spread of COVID-19. Cohen also notes that the current closures in East Brunswick exceed those required by the State of New Jersey.
Here is the full text of his letter to Governor Murphy, Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver and Judith Persichilli, Commissioner of Health:
Governor Murphy, Lt. Governor Oliver and Commissioner Persichilli,
I am sure that you are all very overworked and working with a short fuse. You should know that I appreciate all your efforts. That being said, let me be brief:
Following Executive Order No. 104, the Township of East Brunswick put forth a proclamation that extended the restrictions in the EO. This was based on sound medical and epidemiological evidence based medicine that conforms to the CDC and WHO guidelines regarding assembly and social distancing. This was done in conjunction with Franklin Township where they are led by another Doctor-Mayor (Mayor Phil Kramer).
Our proclamations are almost identical and the document is attached. Among the businesses that were required to close were Child Daycare Centers. There is simply no way that such an institution can conform to social distancing. There is also growing evidence that asymptomatic spread of disease is occurring and this can and does occur among children. I am not sure as to all the reasons that EO 104 allows for this use. I was told that the major reason for not excluding Child Daycare was that it needed to be open for healthcare workers as they are needed on the front lines of COVIR-19. If that is the case, let me suggest the following:
1. Close all Child Daycare Centers except for healthcare workers and first responders that cannot find alternative daycare. This should be able to be done through executive order and the state should utilize these licensed facilities with strict adherence to the CDC guidelines for social distancing and assembly.
2. The percent of clients that fall in to these specific classifications compared to the full capacity at each center is likely to be low. If you subtract those who are able to find alternative care, the remaining number that need care should be low enough that the stock of centers should be able to meet CDC guidelines.
3. We added Adult Day Care as we have already closed our Senior Center for the same reasons. These are the most at-risk members of the population and these centers cannot conform to guidelines.
As you can see from the Township of East Brunswick proclamation, we have added the following to the businesses required to close. This exceeds EO No 104:
• Hair salons, nail salons and barber shops
• Adult Daycare as well as Child Daycare
• Banquet Halls
• Cosmetology and massage establishments
None of these establishments are essential and none can abide by the CDC guidelines.
Finally – despite the above, it is clear that the COVID19 infection rate is tracking on similar curves to countries that are days to weeks ahead of us. In addition, I see so many people either ignoring or finding loopholes in the EO. Example-we allow parks to be open, but have closed down the playgrounds. So I drive by Bicentennial Park and young boys are playing basketball. Really! Given that the infection is expanding exponentially, and our greatest risk is from asymptomatic carriers, I am very worried about the surge on the healthcare delivery system. St. Peter’s is already telling healthcare personnel to reuse N95 masks as they don’t have enough in stock. One of the COVID19 positive patients in East Brunswick is a physician and is in ICU at Hackensack.
If we are to flatten the curve and help us from ourselves, you need to place the State of New Jersey on LOCK DOWN for the next two weeks at a minimum.
Thank you for your commitment to the safety and well-being of our citizens. This must come before economics – we can deal with that later.
Very truly yours,
Brad J Cohen, MD, MBA
Mayor – Township of East Brunswick
Endorsed by: Phil Kramer, MD
Mayor – Franklin Township