Video: Murphy reinstates public health emergency amidst ‘Omicron tsunami’

Gov. Phil Murphy reinstates a public health emergency, Jan. 11, 2022. Screenshot by Kevin Coughlin
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With New Jersey COVID-19 hospitalizations this week topping 6,000 cases for the first time since April 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday reinstated a public health emergency.

While it will enable continued mask mandates in schools and other measures to combat the spread of the Omicron strain, Murphy said he does not contemplate a return to lockdowns or restrictions on gatherings.

“It does not mean going backward from any of the progress we’ve made together over the past 22 months. In fact, in your day-to-day life, this step won’t have any new impact at all,” Murphy said.

Video: Gov. Phil Murphy reinstates public health emergency, Jan. 11, 2022:

“What it does mean is that we can continue moving forward with our coordinated and responsible approach to putting Omicron and COVID behind us. It means keeping our schools, businesses, and communities open,” he said.

The governor has called the situation an “Omicron tsunami.” He described Tuesday’s move as a commonsense safety measure against a pandemic that “remains a significant threat” to the Garden State.

In coming weeks, New Jersey’s 71 hospitals could have 8,000 COVID patients, according to state Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli. That would be comparable to the spring 2020 surge that forced hospitals to turn away people with other maladies.

According to the health department, the emergency declaration will allow the state “to continue vaccine distribution, vaccination or testing requirements in certain settings, the collection of COVID-19 data,” staffing and resource allocation, and implementation of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These emergency powers expire in 30 days, unless Murphy deems it necessary to renew them. His school mask mandate had been set to expire on Tuesday.

State lawmakers–including the Democratic majority- denied Murphy’s request for a three-month extension of his emergency authority and orders.

Calling Murphy’s new declaration “a giant leap backward,” state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-25th Dist.) said it “both circumvents legislative oversight and breaks his deal with his own party’s leadership. We need to give people hope that life is returning to normal, not returning to one man’s rule by executive order.”

Transcript of Governor Murphy’s video message:

For the past two years our lives have been upended by this global pandemic.

Our health care system has been stretched to the limit by variant after variant.

We’ve been forced to change the way we celebrate and gather with our families.

And the virus altered the trajectory of our economy.

As I stand here today, we are registering nearly 35,000 new cases a day. In the past two weeks alone, more than 10,000 of our fellow New Jerseyans have required hospitalization due to COVID.

And though these numbers are a stark reminder of the seriousness of this moment in our history, I have a strong sense of optimism that we are moving forward in defeating this virus.

Even today, the vast majority of our schools are open.

We have recovered 70 percent of the jobs lost due to the pandemic.

Our children are back on playgrounds, back in the gym, and back on the ice.

And the vaccines mean we have the tools necessary to finally put this virus behind us…

The tools required to maintain our best-in-class testing infrastructure and vaccine distribution…

The tools necessary to keep our kids safe in and out of school…

The tools necessary to protect our hospital networks and healthcare workers…

These tools all stem from the Public Health Emergency declaration that we made at the pandemic’s start, and which prepared us to carry on through its various heights.

We have come so far, and we cannot stop now.

Therefore, in consultation with the Legislature, I have taken the necessary step of re-declaring a Public Health Emergency to ensure we keep moving forward in our response against COVID – and so we can put this virus behind us.

I am certain that there are some who are going to do their best to continue to spread misinformation about what this means.

So, I want you to hear it from me.

This is what this does not mean.

It does not mean any new universal mandates or passports.

It does not mean lockdowns.

It does not mean any business restrictions or gathering limits.

It does not mean going backward from any of the progress we’ve made together over the past 22 months.

In fact, in your day-to-day life, this step won’t have any new impact at all.

What it does mean is that we can continue moving forward with our coordinated and responsible approach to putting Omicron and COVID behind us.

It means keeping our schools, businesses, and communities open.

It means we’ll be able to move vaccination and testing resources more easily to the places they need to be and to the residents who need them.

It means that right now – with record-high new cases because of Omicron and more people in our hospitals than at any point since the spring of 2020 – our hospitals and health-care system will have every tool at their disposal to ensure the best care possible for everyone who needs it.

And, critically, it will mean we continue to stand on a firm base of science and facts, and not politics and conspiracies, to keep your family and your community safe by getting ahead of Omicron and staying there.

This step means getting our state moving to a real and lasting sense of normal.

A little more than a month ago, just as we thought we had finally gotten ahead of COVID, the Omicron variant came along.

And while Omicron is doing its best to stop us in our tracks and push us back, we’re not going to let it.

Look, we’ve been together in this fight for nearly two years. And I know you’re all frustrated. I know you’re tired. I know you want nothing more than to get back to normal. Well, so do I.

But together, we’re going to be keep pushing forward – and together we’re going to beat this thing.

So, keep doing everything you’ve been doing. Get vaccinated. Get boosted. Keep masking up.

And keep moving forward.

Thank you. Happy new year. And God bless you all

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4 COMMENTS

  1. We will do yesterday what we should do tomorrow and today we will agree to do what we have been doing and ask Cheney for help.

  2. There are approx 20,000 hospital beds in the State of NJ. Currently, there are 5,933 Covid hospitalizations. There is more than ample hospital capacity. That doesn’t take into account those in the hospital *with* Covid or *due to* Covid. One of the reasons ERs might be overwhelmed is because the Federal and State governments failed to provide sufficient testing capacity, so people are showing up to the ER for Covid tests (and a big fat bill to get one). There is no mandate postponing elective procedures, so if you have a cancer screening, heart condition or something other potentially lethal condition that can be addressed by an “elective procedure”, please go ahead and get it done. If your doc won’t do it, find a new one. Your family and loved ones will thank you for your bravery. This is not pre-vaccine Covid, don’t let them scare you into believing that it is.

  3. Yes. That’s what matters. Are you aware that hospitals throughout the state have canceled and postponed elective surgery? That ER’s are overwhelmed and COVID hospitalizations have made it impossible for hospitals to maintain normal operations? It’s not fear, the Governor (of whom I’m not a fan) is just laying out the facts. COVID continues to ravage the country. Denying it does nothing to help our nation. Instead it causes more suffering by ignoring the daily sacrifices of nurses, doctors and healthcare workers. Perhaps if you volunteered to host a dinner at one of Morristowns fine restaurants for the nurses who work the COVID units? You could ask them what their lives are like? Ask about how they sit in their cars and cry before going home because of all the death and suffering they see each day?

    I’m sure Kevin would show up to report on the event.

    Food for thought…

  4. More fear porn from the left. The number of cases means nothing. What matters are the numbers of hospitalizations, severe illness, and death.

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