Gov. Murphy says school mask mandate won’t be forever; doesn’t anticipate mandating vaccine for kids
Gov. Phil Murphy said on Monday that the mask mandate for the inside of schools won’t last forever.
With some levels of COVID-19 spread inevitable, the governor said that there will come a time when the mask mandate will be relaxed.
“It’s never going to go to zero,” Murphy said. “The reason I say [the mask mandate] won’t be forever and for always is that we’re not going to hold ourselves to a zero reality here.”
Communicable Disease Service medical director Dr. Ed Lifshitz says masking could end when the virus is less common, less deadly or there are other prevention measures like vaccines approved for younger children.
“It would be nice to say, there's a single number for a single amount of time, but unfortunately, at least in my mind, it's somewhat more complicated than that because it really is looking at how all these different things are interacting,” Lifshitz said.
Last week California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state would require any child going to K-12 schools to be vaccinated, pending full FDA approval of the vaccine for those under 12.
“We already mandate 10 vaccines. In so many ways, this is the most, well, this is a significant announcement. But it's probably the most predictable announcement,” Newsom said.
But Murphy said on Monday that he does not anticipate New Jersey having such a mandate -- although he did say that it is an option.
Gov. Newsom justified his decision, following some backlash.
“We require from mumps and measles and rubella, and so many other diseases. We require vaccinations. And yet there's something about this disease that's become so polarized and so divisive,” he said.
New Jersey health officials announced just over 1,100 new positive cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The rate of transmission dropped down to .91. There are more than 5.8 million new Jersey residents fully vaccinated against the virus.