Politics

NJ Gov. Murphy says new COVID-19 restrictions in city are ‘highly unlikely’ to fight new surge

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are on a steep rise again and are at levels that have not been seen since the early days of the pandemic. Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said it is “highly unlikely” that the state will institute any new restrictions to fight the surge. 

In an interview, Murphy said that he does not expect more statewide mask mandates, lockdowns, or capacity limits. After being asked if the state would possibly require vaccine passports, he responded: “I don’t see it.”

The governor said that instead, the focus will be on increasing vaccine booster shot availability and receipt, helping hospitals with staffing, and expanding testing.

Murphy also emphasized that one of the “big, central” goals of his second term, beginning January 18, is to get the state “back to a real semblance of normalcy.” 

The pandemic has so far claimed the lives of more than 29,000 New Jerseyan over the last 22 months, and the latest wave has been attributed to the highly contagious omicron variant.

In recent weeks, the state has consistently posted record-breaking daily new cases as the statewide coronavirus hospitalizations have risen past 5,000 patients for the first time since the onset of the pandemic started to wane in the spring of 2020. New Jersey has also reported, in recent days, over 240 deaths. 

Murphy still was optimistic during his Tuesday interview at his Trenton office as he is currently preparing for his second term in office. “We’re gonna get through this,” he said.

“The omicron variant appears to be something that goes up literally like a straight line and when it breaks, it goes down pretty precipitously. And ultimately, it’s going to get to a place where [the virus is] going to be among us, but we will be able to live what we would all think of as completely normal lives. And I do believe that is within our reach sooner rather than later.” 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: NJ.GOV

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