Throughout the nation local and state governments are working around the clock to come up with ways to continue delivering vital services while they slow the advance of the coronavirus and tend to the rapidly growing cases of the virus. Currently our region is the leading national hotspot for this unprecedented outbreak.

Governor Cuomo Orders 100% of Non-Essential Workers Home

Mar 20, 2020
Governor Cuomo

There are more than seven thousand coronavirus cases in New York State as of Friday. More than half of them are in New York City.

With the numbers increasing, Governor Cuomo is ordering all employees to work from home. The governor says only essential businesses will be able to have workers in the office or on the job site.

“There will be a civil fine and mandatory closure for any business not in compliance."

Mykola Velychko / iStockPhoto

Just last week, guitarist Pat Metheny finished the Australia and New Zealand leg of an international concert tour, in support of his new album. Then his band flew on to South America and learned that a remaining slew of dates — in Brazil and Chile, and all over Europe — had been canceled due to the coronavirus.

On this edition of Newark Today Host Michael Hill is joined by Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Director of Health and Community Wellness Dr. Mark Wade, M.D.,  discuss the potential health impact of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Newark, steps the city is taking to address it, and measures residents can take to protect themselves.  

The number of known coronavirus cases in New Jersey now total 742, including nine deaths.

Gov. Phil Murphy said in his daily briefing Thursday that there are 318 new cases and four additional deaths. COVID-19 patients’ ages range between 3 and 95 years old.

“The numbers are going up, and they’re going up meaningfully,” said Murphy, who attributed the rise to partial community spread and increased testing capacity.


The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York State has spiked to more than 4,000.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is putting more restrictions on businesses to help slow down the spread. He says that based on the science and data, more density reduction is needed.

“Voluntarily, I am asking all businesses to have people work from home. As a mandate, 75 percent of your employee base must work from home.”

"It definitely feels deeply odd to be thinking about an album rollout at this time," reflects pianist Aaron Parks. "But on the other hand, as a listener and as somebody who's affected by this as well, I know how much I'm needing to get my mind off of this."

FB Live

During Newark Mayor Ras Baraka's Facebook Live update on Wednesday, he gave the sobering news that the city has experienced its first coronavirus related death.

The Mayor says the man was in his early 40's and had underlying health problems.

Mayor Baraka and Dr. Wade will be the guests on Thursday's Newark Today show at 8pm on WBGO, hosted by Michael Hill.

Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced a further series of sweeping measures to address the threat of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the City of Newark, which include a mandatory 8 p.m. curfew, the closing of non-essential businesses by 8 p.m. tonight until further notice, and City Hall services offered to residents there by appointment only. A list of the new measures follows, in which compliance will be enforced.


The number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey jumped to 427 on Wednesday, including five deaths, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

State officials said the increase was not a surprise, given that coronavirus is now spreading in the community and health workers are increasing the number of tests for patients with symptoms of the illness.

“It is a beast,” Murphy said, “no matter how you slice it.”

Rayon Richards

What do you do if you’re a jazz musician with a lot of time on your hands?

As New York City and other places enact restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus, we’re sure to see myriad responses to that question. If you happen to be Benny Benack III, the trumpeter and singer probably best known as a front man for Postmodern Jukebox, the answer might involve putting a novel spin on a songbook standard.

So many New Jersey residents tried to apply for unemployment insurance on Monday — about 15,000 — that the state website crashed, said Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday, the first full day that severe new restrictions on business operations were in place.

It was a strong indicator of the financial stress Americans are feeling as states across the nation restrict individual movement and limit economic activity to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Director of Health and Community Wellness Dr. Mark Wade, M.D., will hold a Virtual Town Hall with city residents on Tuesday, March 17, at 7 p.m. The Virtual Town Hall will discuss the potential health impact of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Newark, steps the city is taking to address it, and measures residents can take to protect themselves.

Residents can call in to the Town Hall at (855)-756-7520 Ext.56949# to ask questions. We will be streaming the event live at WBGO.ORG and on the Newark Today facebook page. 



New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says the state is struggling to get enough medical supplies and personal protective equipment to deal with the coronavirus.

The Democrat told N-B-C’s Today Show this morning that the Trump administration told governors that PART of that burden lies with individual states.

Governor Cuomo
NY Governor's Office

There are 1,374 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York State as of Tuesday. Roughly half are in New York City. The hospitalization rate is about 19 percent in the state.

Governor Cuomo thinks the virus could peak around 45 days but warns the hospital system is in danger of being overwhelmed with patients.

“We’re examining the entire hospital system. What is the maximum capacity per hospital. If Department of Health waives their space rules.”

Trevor Smith / Jazz Night in America

Musicians mobilizing from their living rooms. Clubs broadcasting to a virtual audience. What began as a stopgap measure may be our new normal, at least for a while. Consult our guide.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has announced statewide restrictions beginning 8 p.m. Monday that will severely limit business operations and discourage individual travel in an extraordinary effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Democrat also announced that all schools in the state would close indefinitely starting Wednesday, including public, private and parochial schools from grades pre-K to 12, as well as all colleges and universities.


There’s now a ban on gatherings of 50 people or more in New York State. All schools statewide will close by Wednesday. Most are already closed.

Governor Cuomo announced a number of new restrictions and orders Monday in an effort to help control the spread of coronavirus. The governor is ordering local governments to reduce the office workforce by at least 50 percent.

He says casinos, theaters and gyms will all close. Restaurants will be limited to takeout and delivery.

NBC News

After much debate, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made the decision Sunday to close New York City Schools at least through April 20. 

The Mayor was getting pressure from parents, unions and other elected officials to shutter the schools amid the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Both New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio have resisted calls to shut down the schools, warning that forcing health care workers to stay home and supervise their children would cause a drag on a hospital system already bracing for an overwhelming influx of patients.

First Coronavirus Case Reported in Newark

Mar 16, 2020
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka
City of Newark

City officials, including Mayor Ras Baraka and Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo are hoping residents will take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  Mayor Baraka announced on Sunday that Newark has its first reported case.

WBGO's Scott Pringle was there.

Dr. Mark Wade says Newark's got its first coronavirus case, a man in his 50's who is being self-quarantined.

Mayor Baraka wants residents to avoid bars and other large crowds to help prevent the spread. 

FDNY flicker page

A WBGO Conversation with News Director Doug Doyle and Bob Hennelly.

Doyle: Here in the United States local and state public health officials were scrambling this week in their efforts to get ahead of the coronavirus pandemic which has already killed over 1,000 people in Italy and over 4,000 in the rest of the world with close to 50 here in the U.S. After weeks of messaging from the Trump administrations that the coronavirus was like the flu, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top epidemiologist, shared some sobering news when he testified before Congress this week.

As New Jersey’s official coronavirus count increased to 23 on Wednesday, health officials also warned the state may be starting to see “community spread,” which means the illness is being transmitted among the general population.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said two of the people with COVID-19 could not be connected to known coronavirus cases and had not recently traveled to areas with community outbreaks, such as Italy.

“Community spread indicates that the coronavirus is amongst us, and we have an expectation that that may be the case,” Persichilli said.

A 69-year-old Bergen County man with a history of health problems has died from the novel coronavirus, the first fatality from the illness in New Jersey, state officials announced Tuesday.

The man did not have a history of traveling outside the U.S. but had traveled to New York, state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the family,” Persichilli said.

Corona Virus
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

There are at least 33 coronavirus cases in New York State. Governor Cuomo says that number is expected to rise but he’s urging people not to panic. 

Meanwhile, New Jersey has at least its third case of coronavirus … the first in South Jersey. The patient is a Camden County resident. Officials say the man in his 60s is currently hospitalized in stable condition.

Two other people who tested positive for coronavirus are quarantined in hospitals in Bergen County. Acting Governor Sheila Oliver says the state was ready. 

A second person in New Jersey has tested positive for novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver confirmed during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

The news came less than 24 hours after Gov. Phil Murphy released a statement announcing the first positive coronavirus case — a man in his 30s from Fort Lee, N.J.

Officials have not released the name of that man, who is resting and doing well at Hackensack University Medical Center in Bergen County, according to Ihor Sawczuk, regional president for the northern market for Hackensack Meridian Health.

No Positive Tests for Coronavirus in N.J.

Mar 3, 2020

New Jersey officials said Monday that the state still had no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, which has now been detected in 91 people across the U.S. and claimed six lives in this country.

But top New Jersey health officials warned that it was possible that the virus — which appears to have originated from animals at an outdoor market in Wuhan, China — could make its way to the Garden State.

“I would have to say, given what we’re seeing in some other states, I would not be surprised if that happened,” said Department of Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli.