New Jersey has surpassed 10,000 coronavirus deaths, Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Friday. The Garden state has reported 10,138 deaths and 143,905 infections, making it the hardest-hit state in the United States after New York.

Murphy announced 201 new deaths and 1,297 confirmed cases over the last 24 hours, a 2 percent increase, during his daily press briefing in Trenton. Despite surpassing the grim milestone, Murphy revealed there has been a downward trend in the number of deaths and cases across the state.

Downward Trend in Coronavirus Cases

Coronavirus
A woman wearing a mask, which is now the new normal in a world suffering from a global pandemic. Pixabay

For the first time since March 25, New Jersey reported fewer than 1,000 new cases on Tuesday and Wednesday with 798 cases and 817 cases respectively. Though, on Thursday, 1,144 new cases were reported. On March 25, the state reported 727 new cases, bringing its total tally to just over 4,400. Since then, New Jersey's daily COVID-19 cases surged, and remained over the 1000-plus mark over the next month and a half, until Tuesday.

New Jersey's overall number of new cases for the week is down, and the daily number of cases has been trending downward, in general. This time last week the state had reported 9,918 new cases. However, this week, it stands at only 5,619. The slump in coronavirus cases has encouraged Murphy to announce a two-phased approach to gradually lift some of the restrictions in the state.

Reopening of New Jersey

Governor Phil Murphy
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. New Jersey Government

The decreasing coronavirus cases prompted Murphy to announce that the state would peel back some of the restrictions starting with reopening state and county parks, as well as golf courses earlier this month.

On Wednesday, Murphy said that "non-essential construction, curbside pickup at non-essential retail businesses, and car gatherings for the purpose of drive-through and drive-in events," would be permitted to resume this coming Monday, May 18., as previously reported by International Business Times.

On Thursday, the governor outlined a plan to allow beaches, lakes and lakeshores to reopen next Friday, May 22, just in time for Memorial Day weekend with social distancing norms and restrictions in place, IBT reported.

During his briefing on Friday, Murphy announced that starting May 26, elective surgeries and other invasive procedures, which had been halted since March as the outbreak first took hold, will also be permitted.