Gov. Murphy has no plans for new COVID-19 restrictions, but won’t rule it out

Gov. Phil Murphy says that he does not have any imminent plans to implement new COVID-19 restrictions.

News 12 Staff

Jul 19, 2021, 10:26 PM

Updated 1,002 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy says that he does not have any imminent plans to implement new COVID-19 restrictions. But he says that he can’t rule it out as the delta variant leads to a 20% increase in hospitalizations.
“I want to reiterate unequivocally – I don’t want to go back,” Murphy said on Monday. “But if we think that’s the right public health things to do, then that’s what the experts will suggest.”
The governor’s comments come more than a month after he lifted the state’s indoor mask mandate and social distancing guidelines. But the increase in COVID-19 cases tied to the delta variant has some residents wondering if Murphy will reimpose masks indoors.
“We’re not there yet. We continue to be comfortable with where we are,” Murphy said.
But the delta variant does have some state officials concerned.
“It is expected that this variant will cause increasing cases among children who cannot be vaccinated, including severe cases,” said state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.
And Murphy says that there is a reason to be concerned.
“This is not overblown. Look at India. Look at Indonesia. Look at the rates in our state,” he said.
Murphy and state officials say that the only way to protect the state is for everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I cannot repeat it enough - We do not have a pandemic among the vaccinated, we only have a pandemic among the unvaccinated,” Murphy said.
Vaccines still offer strong protection against contracting the delta variant. According to data compiled by Communicable Disease Service medical director Dr. Ed Lifshitz, the vaccine also provides near-certain protection against hospitalization or death.
“Dr. Ed's team counted a total of 84 COVID-related hospitalizations among fully vaccinated individuals. This means the vaccines are 99.998% effective in protecting you against a case of COVID that would require you to be admitted to the hospital,” the governor said.
The public health emergency law passed by the Legislature allows the governor to go back to mandating masks if coronavirus spreads or the rate of transmission is over 1. Both are occurring, but the governor says he's holding off reimplementing these mandates for now.
“We're gonna watch this like a hawk and our strong, strong, strong preference is not to go back. We are among the most vaccinated states in the country and that's a huge positive,” Murphy said.
According to the state, out of over 4.4 million people fully vaccinated in New Jersey through the end of June, 31 have died due to breakthrough cases of COVID-19.


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