STATEWIDE – Politicians sure love to point fingers; they really can’t help themselves. So there is no surprise that President Trump is pointing some fat fingers at Democratic-led New Jersey and New York, claiming the two states “got off to a very late start” in fighting COVID-19. Of course, this stuff benefits no one. But both governors are quick to slam Trump, as the guy who will forever be remembered for his January comments, in which he said “It’s one person coming in from China and we have it under control.” Murphy’s response to Trump’s allegations: “The facts don’t support that. Period. Full stop.” Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office called the federal government “absent,” as the two states grapple with the greatest outbreak in the nation. Trump has famously said: “One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.” Just like his presidency.

STATEWIDE – You’ve streamed every last ounce of Netflix. You’ve Zoomed everyone you possibly know, you’ve texted people until you have been blocked and Google Hangout is done hanging out with you. So, as you pace your home, back and forth, back and forth, what the heck is there to do? Call us lunatics, but why not handwrite a letter? You know, find a sheet of paper, secure a working pen and look in your junk drawer for a stamp. Then, write to someone, about anything at all, and maybe even stick in a photo of your goldfish. Sure, penning a letter seems so archaic, like something that some ancient person would do in, say, 1980. But these are strange times and maybe, just maybe, this is an opportunity to do something bold, and brash and memorable. And, who knows? You may end up addressing the letter correctly and your intended recipient could receive it. How cool is that?

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BERGEN COUNTY – Local cops are rightfully jittery about safety these days, one of the reasons why they asked county authorities if coronavirus patients can be required to place notices on their front doors. But the county prosecutor has denied the request of cops in Glen Rock, Ridgewood and Saddle River, claiming it could lead to a neighborhood backlash for people who are struggling with their health. The Record reports that cops already have access to this info through other agencies and so there is no reason to force people to advertise their ailments. So, with growing concerns about harassment, the county prosecutor says “No.”

EDISON – An out-of-towner is stepping up help Edison first aiders after 65 N95 masks were stolen from storage cabinets and ambulances parked inside three squad buildings. East Brunswick retiree Joseph Rak, 77, is offering to buy replacement masks and post a reward for the thief’s arrest, telling the Home News Tribune he is “heartbroken” to learn it may have been an inside-job. Edison cops say the masks, worth a total of $100, went missing between March 14–25 from three squads with no forced entry to the buildings. Police Lt. Robert Dudash called Rak's offer “very generous,” but finding available replacements these days is the big issue.

BRIEFING BREATHER: Seven percent of Americans claim they never bathe.

TRENTON – Armed with data from hard-hit Washington State, and with cases on the rise at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities here, New Jersey officials want more precautions to help protect the state’s most vulnerable citizens from COVID-19. There are now new guidelines that require staffers at nursing homes, residential hospitals and assisted-living facilities to wear basic masks at all times. Residents with respiratory symptoms must also don the same protection. If a resident can’t tolerate a mask, they can cover their nose and mouth with a tissue. NJSpotlight says the new rules were enacted once it was learned that asymptomatic staffers who worked at multiple nursing homes in Washington had spread the virus.

IN THE MEDIA

STATEWIDE – With the outbreak, New Jerseyans are relying on local journalism more than ever. Of course, most people still don’t financially support it, dropping newspaper subscriptions, ignoring solicitations for ads and refusing to spend 99 cents to read an article behind a pay wall. That said, TAPinto’s network of more than 80 local news sites in New Jersey, New York and Florida broke all readership records in March with 9,628,289 page views and 3,412,844 readers on its free sites. It was a 300% increase in web traffic from February, as people suddenly are interested in reading local news as they sit home. When New Jersey recovers, remember these local reporters and editors who are working seven days a week, out and about, to inform you. Please consider investing the 99 cents.

STATEWIDE – Employees at Gannett’s nine New Jersey papers are now being forced to take one week of unpaid leave per month through June, if they dare to earn more than $38,000 a year. Gannett, which has already stripped its remaining newsrooms to the studs in the hopes of finding nickels behind the walls, is still trying to cover the pandemic. But the newspaper chain is falling victim to the economic slowdown. Forced furloughs affect staff at more than 100 Gannett newspapers nationwide. Calling it “collective sacrifice,” the media giant’s CEO said too many advertisers have reduced or eliminated their spending. So, being a good guy and all, the CEO pledged to not take a paycheck until the furloughs are lifted, while company execs are taking a 25 percent pay cut. Terrific, but what about their end-of-the-year bonuses for cost-cutting initiatives?

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

DALLAS – There’s not a big threshold for bad news these days, so forgive us for reporting on the truck that caught fire on the interstate. No one was injured, thankfully, but, brace yourself: an entire cargo of toilet paper went up in flames. (Gasp!) Yes, the Texas Department of Transportation did confirm the shocking news to the Jaffe Briefing, informing us about the awful incident occurring at 4 a.m. Wednesday, on Interstate 20, near the I-45 interchange in southern Dallas County. Firefighters raced to the scene, with desperate hopes to at least spare a few squares. Alas, it was gone. Inspectors found whatever remained to be burnt, water-logged and to only be used in extreme, dire circumstances. The surviving toilet paper is at a local lab, with researchers hoping it can be recreated, rebuilt and reused via bionic technologies.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1995 that the opening of baseball season was delayed until April 26. At the time, that seemed like a big deal.

WORD OF THE DAY

Pleonasm – [PLEE-ə-naz-əm] – noun

Definition: The use of more words than those necessary; redundancy

Example: Wanna know what pleonasms drive me crazy? “Past history” and “personal friend.”

WIT OF THE DAY

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”

- Abraham Lincoln

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“Presidential harassment!”

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD: Breezy

THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun