TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — We’ve been battling the coronavirus pandemic for a year now. CBS2 is taking a look back at the lessons learned and the road ahead with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

It was March 4 of last year when New Jersey saw its first case of COVID-19. It was the same time that Murphy had been diagnosed with a malignant tumor on his kidney.

“I rolled out of the recovery room into my hospital room, check my messages, and that’s what I got,” Murphy told CBS2’s Meg Baker on Monday.

There were so many unknowns, including a lack of knowledge about the virus and a lack of medical supplies.

“The early days were overwhelming and some days still are overwhelming,” Murphy said.

COVID VACCINE

Daily press briefings became the norm. Baker asked the governor why it was so important for him to communicate with state residents daily on what was going on.

“I was trying to channel a little bit of Winston Churchill, to speak to people with two different themes. One is, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even if the truth was ugly to hear. And at the same time, to give folks a realistic path of hope,” Murphy said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Baker asked if restrictions will be lifted once 70% of the population is vaccinated.

“I’m not sure about all, Meg, but I think we’re in a dramatically different place. I’m going to say Memorial Day or shortly thereafter,” Murphy said.

The economy has been devastated, with more than a third of small businesses shut down due to the pandemic. With the help of state grants, federal stimulus money, and a natural boost in business come warmer weather, Murphy said he’s hopeful, “We’re going to have a snapback, a jump up, in the economy. I’m predicting a great summer on the shore.”

When Baker asked what New Jersey did right during the pandemic, he said he was most thankful the majority of residents followed the rules of wearing masks and social distancing to save lives.

CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report

CBSNewYork Team