Nearing the end of another 16-hour day overseeing New Jersey’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Judith Persichilli pauses at the door of her crisis conference room to answer a final question.
Persichilli, the state health commissioner, has become a familiar face in the state as the woman who calmly announces how many people have tested positive and died of COVID-19 disease each day. Behind the scenes, she is the health official who has been running the state’s day-to-day battle against the virus.
But at age 71, Persichilli is squarely in the age range that experts are warning to be most cautious.
“Are you worried,” I ask, “that you’ll get the coronavirus eventually?”
“I’m definitely going to get it. We all are,” Persichilli says matter-of-factly. “I’m just waiting.”
It will probably be mild. She’ll feel sick for a few days, then hopefully get better, she says. It may not be this month or this year. But, she’s studied all the coronavirus pandemic algorithms and consulted the experts.
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