POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Coronavirus kills Jersey City councilman

BY Michael Hill, Correspondent |

Throughout the city, homemade memorials to Jersey City Councilman Michael Yun.

“Nice, simple person. He liked to talk to the people. Hug the people. Beautiful person,” said Jersey City resident Frankie Velez.

Yun is among the rising number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in New Jersey’s largest cities.

“The guy loved Jersey City. He was a dedicated public servant. The kind of guy that you wanted on your side, you didn’t want to be in opposition to because he’s relentless. It’s a big whole in Jersey City to say the least,” Mayor Steve Fulop said.

Fulop has not imposed a curfew in Jersey City like his neighbors have in Newark and other cities. He says he has no intention to.

“We’re trying to use a gentle touch. We’re advising people who are doing things that they shouldn’t be doing that they shouldn’t be doing that. We don’t think being heavy-handed in this is productive. Everybody’s stressed,” Fulop said.

Christ Hospital lost one of its own security guards to coronavirus.

“That was a tough, tough day. So, employees they are fearful to go to work and that’s something I’ve never encountered before,” said Christ Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tucker Woods.

Woods says staff is growing thin as COVID-19 care makes up 75-80% of all care at Christ Hospital. There are 80 deaths among Christ Hospital and CarePoint’s two other Hudson County hospitals, but there are some glimmers of hope as they’ve removed two women from ventilators, including one who gave birth.

“Instead of hearing about death, we actually gave life just a few days ago,” Woods said. “We have a pregnant lady in our ICU, 21-weeks pregnant, and we got her off the ventilator a couple days ago. We also actually got approval for this compassionate care medication called Remdesevir. Gilead gave us the medication rapidly and the next day we got her off the ventilator. So it’s not all bad news. I think it’s important to report the good news as well.”

Beginning Tuesday, homeless patients who become stable will transfer across the street to Christ’s former nursing school converted to a step-down care unit.

“It looks like it’s going to be a great facility,” Woods said.

Dr. Angel Lazo is urging the public to find out if they’re diabetic or pre-diabetic. He’s collecting patient information after seeing evidence of what the state health department reports: diabetics make up 12% of state coronavirus deaths with known underlying health conditions.

“I’m seeing a very high level of diabetics, and especially pre-diabetics. For example, yesterday, of the 25 patients that I had, 23 of them were actually either diabetic or pre-diabetic, which is very disturbing,” Lazo said.

Lazo is spending so much time on the front line that when the virus killed his 78-year-old mother in Florida, he missed her funeral. He instead went to the hospital’s chapel during her Florida burial.

“It was heart-wrenching, to say the least,” he said.

The cruel toll of the coronavirus pandemic.