NJ Gov. Murphy ponders mask mandates after new CDC guidance
Governor Phil Murphy has given little hint as to what he plans to do regarding mask requirements in New Jersey, even after the CDC issued new guidance saying even the vaccinated should mask up in areas where COVID transmissions are high.
During an appearance on SiriusXM's "Wharton Business Daily, "Murphy said there is "rightful concern and rightful frustration" over the possibility of new pandemic restrictions. "People have, rightfully, had it," Murphy acknowledged, "Having said that, we have to do the right thing."
State Health officials are reviewing the CDC recommendations and Murphy was not ready to commit to a course of action. He did, however, point to New Jersey's high vaccination rate as a mitigating factor. "You've got other states that are a fraction of where we are in terms of vaccination rates," Murphy said, "So we have to factor that in as well."
The CDC says even the fully vaccinated should be wearing masks indoors where transmission rates are high. CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said, "In rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others."
Under the new CDC guidance, there are six New Jersey counties where indoor mask wearing should be mandated. Atlantic, Essex, Middlesex, Ocean and Passaic counties are considered "high transmission" areas.
The CDC also recommended masks for all students and faculty when school resumes in the September, regardless of vaccination status. Murphy has said he will not mandate masks, and instead has left it up to individual districts.
The Director of Communicable Disease Services for the New Jersey Department of Health, Dr. Ed Lifshitz, said this week he believes masking in school is the right decision, but stopped short of recommending a statewide mandate.