STATEWIDE – So, why are liquor stores deemed an “essential service?” Everyone knows the obvious answer in these jittery times, but the Record actually found a serious academic who can make it all sound nice and legit. The newspaper went all the way to Johns Hopkins University to find a nice bow-tied fellow to explain how boozing it up is all about “public health.” Allowing liquor stores to stay open will actually save lives, he explains with a serious face, as those struggling with addiction could suffer discomfort, stomach distress, the shakes, tremors, body fatigue and aches. And, so, because of that concern, every single liquor store must remain open to the masses, with full operating hours. Again, folks, we’re safeguarding the public health.

NEW BRUNSWICK – When college students returned to school from winter break, they looked forward to a terrific spring, like the rest of us. They certainly never imagined being yanked from their dorms and dispatched home to mom, dad and that annoying little sister. And they could never fathom that their beloved dorm room would then be turned into a make-shift infirmary for victims of a sweeping pandemic. TAPInto New Brunswick reports that state officials may use Rutgers dorms and apartments as part of contingency plans if and when area hospitals are overrun with patients. University officials say they have received “outreach” from several state officials as they sketch out what to do next. Dorms are a great resource in the coronavirus fight; expect the parties to be sick.

TRENTON – Gov. Phil Murphy is a data-driven guy. On Monday, he ordered private testing labs to turn over all the COVID-19 data they’d collected. NJ Spotlight reports the private labs have been running most of New Jersey’s COVID-19 testing since March 9 — two weeks before Murphy issued his order. Now that the state has the data, it’s quickly proving invaluable. First factoid: at least one in four people with respiratory symptoms tested positive for COVID-19. Further, on the first day of private testing, only one of 11 positive cases identified came from a commercial facility; 10 days later, commercial labs reported 312 of the 318 positive cases. Now that the state has the data, let’s hope it can better project and plan — and maybe even get out ahead of all this.

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BRIEFING BREATHER: The oceans contain almost 200,000 different kinds of viruses.

SAINT GEORGE, GA. – Ever been to Saint George? No? Ever even hear of Saint George? No? Well, Saint George may become your spring break destination, as it is the southern-most town in Georgia, on Route 94, just above the Florida border. And why do you possibly care? Because if you had dreams of visiting grandma in Boca Raton this spring, just forget about it. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis doesn’t want you flying in, unless you are willing to self-quarantine for 14 days in grandma’s one-bedroom condo that hasn’t had air conditioning since grandpa set the thermostat to 95 degrees in 1991. But we digress. Here’s the news: DeSantis is royally ticked that Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay-at-home order has prompted many New Jerseyans to fly south, likely to infect Floridians with coronavirus and other stuff. So, no visit without a quarantine. But you still have Saint George, currently accepting air travelers from Newark.

SEASIDE HEIGHTS – “Get the hell off the beach” may become the tourism slogan of the Summer of ’20, as this one shore town is closing off all the entrances to its ocean and the bay beaches. Mayor Anthony Vaz is worried about the steadily improving weather and our thirst for the Jersey Shore. Keeping the beaches open, he rightfully argues, encourages people from all over to violate the governor’s state-at-home order and cross into the barrier island, potentially spreading COVID 19 all over his town. You want Seaside Heights? Order a postcard off Amazon.

IN THE MEDIA

CRANFORD – With her wire story appearing overnight in media outlets from Kalamazoo to Fargo to Sheboygan, to a little-known publication called The New York Times, and then zapped to the Philippines, Israel and Malaysia, Barbara Goldberg of Reuters wrote about how laughter is really needed at times like this. Thank you, Barbara, for including the Jaffe Briefing in your story and, more importantly, for being a daily reader! Here’s Barbara’s story.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

NEW YORK – Strange times indeed. So strange, in fact, that the NYC Health Department has issued an advisory that officially recommends masturbation as the preferred option for sex these days. This must-read guide, titled “How to Enjoy Sex and Avoid Spreading COVID-19,” recommends that you are your safest sex partner (with extensive hand washing). It also warns against having sex with someone who lives outside your home. So, the first priority is yourself, followed by the “next safest partner is someone you live with.” Group sex is also being discouraged, as well as some intimate sex acts that are just waaay too specific for a family-friendly morning newsletter. But feel free to print, post and publicize the notice from here.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

On this day in 2014 , a Girl Scout broke the record for selling cookies, pushing out 18,107 boxes over a seven-week period. Perhaps she can be retained to rebuild the U.S. economy.

WORD OF THE DAY

Gibe – [JYBE] – verb

Definition: To utter taunting words

Example: Some of the nation’s governors are gibing wild claims the U.S. economy could somehow be reopened by mid-April.

WIT OF THE DAY

“For the people that are now out of work because of the important and necessary containment policies, for instance the shutting down of hotels, bars and restaurants, money will soon be coming to you. The onslaught of the Chinese Virus is not your fault!”

- Donald J. Trump (March 18, 2020)

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world. They are amazing people, and the spreading of the Virus is NOT their fault in any way, shape, or form.”

-Donald J. Trump (March 25, 2020)

WEATHER IN A WORD: Scattered

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