At the onset of the pandemic, Vinnie Brand, the owner of Stress Factory comedy clubs in New Jersey and Connecticut, had just opened a restaurant adjacent to his Bridgeport club and employed more than 50 full-time employees to whom he proudly provided health insurance. He was also “essentially” debt free, save for a $25,000 line of credit.
The first of two big expansions this month of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in New Jersey begins Monday with transportation workers and several other groups who can now schedule shots, though appointments remain hard to get.
A year after officials reported the first case of COVID-19 in New Jersey, the numbers of cases, deaths and hospitalizations tied to the virus are declining. Demand continues to outpace supply for coronavirus vaccines, but hundreds of thousands of doses are expected to ship in coming weeks and the state’s goal of immunizing 4.7 million people by this summer seems possible.
New Jersey-based Merck said Saturday that the experimental antiviral drug molnupiravir it has been developing with Ridgeback Bio showed a quick reduction of the infectious virus in a study among participants with early COVID-19.
Twelve months of surging demand for emergency food assistance from pandemic-hit workers made for a grueling and unprecedented year for New Jersey’s food banks. And now they are bracing for more of the same over the next two years even if unemployment drops in line with declining COVID-19 infections.
In the 1960s anti-war activists adopted songs like the Eve of Destruction and For What It’s Worth as their anthems. Disenchanted youth feared that the world was on the verge of collapse; we were nearing the end of days. Concurrently, the civil rights activists were singing the hopeful “We Shall Overcome.” (Black folks singing an upbeat and emboldening song written by a white guy would be frowned upon today.) Both groups were buoyed by the blessing of free speech. Their voices were heard. Attempts at silencing them only made their voices louder and more widespread. Even people on the sidelines began to pay attention.
On Jan. 9, Elizabeth Matsutani said she received her last unemployment check for $414, exhausting the benefits she’s relied on since April after she lost her job as an administrative assistant due to the coronavirus pandemic.