By Jon Dougherty @TheNatSent

(TNS) A New Jersey physician’s assistant has become the first National Guard member to die from coronavirus, according to announcements by state officials and the U.S. military.

“I’m heartbroken by the loss of [New Jersey National Guard] Captain Douglas Linn Hickok to coronavirus,” Gov. Phil Murphey (D) tweeted Monday. “He was a drilling guardsman and physician’s assistant, originally from Jackson. Our thoughts are with his wife, children, and their family.”



The New Jersey National Guard also tweeted a brief statement.

“We are saddened by the loss of one of our NJ National Guard Citizen-Soldiers to the coronavirus,” it said. “Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok was a drilling guardsman in Medical Command and a civilian physician assistant, originally from Jackson, NJ. Our thoughts are with his family.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper also issued a statement mourning the loss, adding that Hickok had been hospitalized with the disease since mid-March.

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“Today is a sad day for the Department of Defense as we have lost our first American service member – active, reserve or Guard – to Coronavirus,” Esper said.

“This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community. The news of this loss strengthens our resolve to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

New Jersey is one of our nation’s virus ‘hotspots’ with — as of this writing — more than 16,000 cases.



As of Tuesday morning, there were more than 164,000 positive coronavirus cases nationwide. Over 3,000 people have died due to complications from the coronavirus across the country.

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