Murphy: Vaccines, mask wearing by choice ‘going to work for us’ against new COVID spike
When it comes to the possibility of another COVID lockdown nearly two years into the pandemic, “You have to leave it on the table, but I don’t see it,” Gov. Phil Murphy said during a TV appearance on Fox News Sunday.
“Among other reasons — we have a very high degree of vaccinations, folks are getting boosted which clearly gives another layer of protection against this,” Murphy told Fox News host Bret Baier.
The governor said the virus has humbled “all of us,” and that he understands the COVID fatigue, which he also is feeling, this long after the health crisis was officially marked as arriving in New Jersey back in March 2020.
Murphy said he was at the "biggest mall in North America" over the weekend where there was a high rate of mask wearing and that for a majority of residents “As fatigued as they are, they are largely accepting of what you need to do to push back at this.”
He said “for the time being, we think that is going to work for us.”
Murphy did not clarify whether the mall he was describing was American Dream in East Rutherford, which is among the largest malls on the continent.
On Sunday, there were 6,533 new confirmed cases and 988 new likely cases, based on COVID test results statewide.
There also were 1,852 COVID patients hospitalized, including 343 of them in intensive care units.
Those are double the number of hospitalizations and ICU patients from one year ago, respectively.
The first COVID vaccinations had just begun for health care personnel days earlier, as 7,606 doses of Pfizer had been given out as of Dec. 18, 2020.
As of Sunday, 14.7 million vaccine doses had been administered statewide, including nearly two million booster or dose three shots of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson, combined. Those doses involve 6.35 million fully vaccinated people who live, work or study in the state.
There also have been nearly 292,000 pediatric doses given to children, between the ages of 5 and 11 years old.
When asked about the current court battles regarding the federal vaccine mandate, Murphy said that his reaction is not "as strident, as perhaps others.”
He said there has been a high “take up rate” to the state’s current requirements, which still offer public sector workers and educators the option to either get vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19.
In New Jersey, face masks have not been required in many outdoor and indoor settings since late May, with the exception of schools, healthcare facilities, public transportation, child care centers correctional facilities, and homeless shelters.