The second wave continues to explode across the Garden State and Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday trained his ire at people complaining about or campaigning against masks.

"Folks who have politicized wearing a mask are either putting their life or others around them at risk — that’s a fact,” he said. “I speak to families almost every single day, and some days multiple families who have lost a loved one. I’d love someone who is jerking around by not wearing a mask, making it political, to speak to some of these families that I speak to.”

He said the message to anyone who thinks wearing a mask is uncomfortable and annoying is simple: “You know what’s really uncomfortable and annoying? When you die.”

The state on Thursday added 3,517 new cases, recorded a surging positivity rate of 12.2% and hospitalizations climbed to 1,827, with 360 patients in intensive care and 117 on ventilators.

While the cases are still nowhere near as dire as during the peak of the crisis in the spring, health officials fear a return to those frantic days.

“Folks, let these numbers sink in, COVID is not done with us, unfortunately not by a long shot,” Murphy said during his new conference.

To help stop new infection rates, the governor strongly urged all New Jerseyans to make sure they mask up whenever they go out, pointing out the CDC's latest guidance based on new evidence that finds wearing a mask is a stronger measure of protection than previously thought.

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State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the virus spreads more easily in colder weather as people spend even more time indoors.

“This is a wake-up call," she said. "We need your help. We need you to strictly adhere to masking ... If we are lax, if we continue on this trajectory, our state will return to the situation we were in last spring.”

The governor stressed wearing a mask properly, over your nose and mouth, is absolutely critical.

“Unless we all recommit to the common-sense measures that got us past the first horrendous months of this pandemic we are in for a long, dark winter,” he said.

Murphy said the COVID-19 infection rates we are now seeing are stark and sobering “but they should not deter us from continuing the fight, not just against coronavirus, but also against our pandemic fatigue.”

The governor concluded his update by telling New Jersey residents that “the one screaming ask is everybody please take this seriously, and remember it’s not forever but we are in the throes of it right now. We are still at war. In fact we are far more at war than we were a month or two ago, please wear your face coverings.”

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