PROSPECT PARK, NJ - From his home, Mayor Mohamed Khairullah has been livestreaming videos, for approximately half an hour at a time, to keep residents appraised of the goings-on. He discussed the coronavirus situation before moving onto other borough news, matters of government on the state and national level, as well as taking questions from residents who comment on the stream.
Wednesday evening, Khairullah began by giving the latest figures on Prospect Park's coronavirus patients, numbering them at seven.
"The good news is, our number of cases has remained at seven, no increase today. All of them are self-quarantined and recovering." Regarding the Prospect Park residents in self-quarantine, Khairullah said, "The nurse follows up with the patients and speaks with them on a regular basis. I haven’t heard of anyone deteriorating. Out of respect for our residents, I do not ask too many questions because of HIPAA rules and regulations. I ask what is allowable and what is in the best interests of the community to know." The present Passaic County Department of Health listing cites 3 cases for Prospect Park, a listing likely to be updated soon.
“Passaic County’s total number of cases has gone up to 255 cases, the total number in the state of New Jersey is 4,402, up 736 cases with total deaths in the state of New Jersey at 62," the mayor said. "Number of cases in the United States is 65,778, total deaths of 942. We are now trailing Italy by about 9,000 cases, rapidly approaching China remaining about 81,600, so we’re number 3 in the world but rapidly approaching number 2. Number 1, obviously China which has a much larger population than us and Italy has a much smaller population."
China has an estimated 2020 population of 1,394,015,977, the United States 332,639,102, and Italy 62,402,659 according to the Central Intelligence Agency.
"The only way for us or anyone else at this point without a cure to slow the spread of the virus is to practice social distancing and to utilize proper hygiene practices," the mayor said. "Always sanitize your hands and if you’re going to sneeze, sneeze into your elbow or a tissue so you aren’t spreading germs."
Khairullah was asked if the school would be preparing another package for students learning at home. "Will there be more packages? As of yesterday we were on day 8 of a 21 day package. The district is preparing a second package in case there is a second extension. Most likely we will have an extension, I have no doubt this will happen, but I am not the person in charge of the district. But based on everything I see I don’t see us opening schools any time soon."
Khairullah asked students to email their teachers and send them a thank you note. "Ladies and gentlemen, I work in the field of education and I want to go back to school already. Doing stuff while at home and--God bless my wife--having to deal with children jumping on top of me, it’s not easy so with the teachers having to deal with 50, 100, 150 students and having their kids running around them. It’s not an easy task, so God bless all educators on the front lines."
With respect to Governor Murphy's executive order closing all non-essential businesses, the mayor said, "If you see a business operating in violation of the governor’s executive order to close non-essential businesses, if you are working at one, you can report them at covid19.nj.gov/violation."
The mayor moved the conversation to the Olympics. He said that in Japan, the Olympics were being rescheduled for 2021. "That’s a clear indication that this virus is not going to go away by April 12 or Easter, as much as we want to celebrate holidays because it could slow down somewhere and if there’s no cure, it could flare up somewhere else. So, unless there’s a cure we can’t take it easy. And on that note there have been things circulating about a second virus coming out of China," Khairullah said, referring to the hantavirus. "I have researched the virus and apparently it first surfaced in the fifties and there’s a cure, so whoever is sensationalizing this on social media, they need to cut it out. And you shouldn’t be worried because there is a cure and you literally have to be eating the flesh of rodents and ingesting the fluids of that flesh to get the virus... People just want to sensationalize right now, they want likes and shares, but I don’t think there’s a need to panic."
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