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NJ Gov. Murphy orders flags lowered to half-staff ‘indefinitely’ to honor coronavirus deaths

US_flag_at_half_staff_ (MarkBuckawicki/WikiCommons)

Flags in New Jersey will be lowered to half-staff “indefinitely” to memorialize those who have died from the the coronavirus.

Gov. Phil Murphy said at his daily press briefing Friday that flags will be lowered “effective immediately and indefinitely to honor those we have lost and those we will lose. We will lose more, sadly, as a result of this pandemic.”

Murphy announced Friday 4,372 new positive tests and 113 new deaths confirmed in the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to at least 29,895 cases and 646 deaths.

The governor said flag-lowering is a way to honor the dead who can’t all be mentioned and remembered by name.

“This is one of the greatest tragedies to hit our state and our nation and and we must have a constant and visual memorial of the tremendous personal toll COVID-19 is having on our communities,” he said. “Since families at this time can not even hold funerals for their lost loved ones, this is one way, a small way but I think an important way, they can make sure their loss is not forgotten.”

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Murphy did mention two people who died from the virus by name at the briefing. James Brown, principal of Grover Cleveland Middle School in Caldwell, passed away from the virus at 48.

“The accolades being posted in his memory by the community tell just how deeply respected and loved he was. He leaves his wife, three children and the whole school community,” Murphy said.

John Paul “Bucky” Pizzarelli, a Paterson native and famed jazz guitarist, died Wednesday from complications due to the coronavirus. He was 94.

Murphy again beseeched residents to keep their distance from each other, continue to wash their hands frequently and stay home except for necessary travel.

“We can also honor these families and the memories of their loved ones by doing all we can to prevent the spread of coronavirus through social distancing,” he said.

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© 2020 NJ Advance Media Group