The word of the day in New Jersey politics is “putz.”
Gov. Phil Murphy proudly resorted to name calling a Florida congressman after he participated in a New York political event held in Jersey City that appeared to disregard coronavirus protocols in the state.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was part of a gala fundraiser held for the New York Young Republicans Club in Jersey City Dec. 3. The governor showcased a picture at his press briefing of participants breaking the Garden State’s COVID-19 protocols for indoor gatherings, including lack of social distancing and face masks.
“The New York Young Republicans Club allegedly snuck into Jersey City to hold a gala fundraiser after they could not find a venue in their own city due to the pandemic,” said Murphy at a press briefing Dec. 4. “From the videos on social media and pictures, there is no obvious attempt to enforce social distancing or masks even though wearing masks indoors in New Jersey is mandatory.”
“It is beyond the pale that anyone would willingly endanger people in another state, beyond their own,” said Murphy.
It was at that point Murphy took his shot at Gaetz, a conservative Republican from Florida who is a strong supporter of President Donald Trump and has questioned the protocols that state’s such as New Jersey have undertaken during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is also beyond the pale that a member of Congress would participate in this,” said Murphy. “That tall handsome fella in the middle in the grey suit is Representative Matt Putz, sorry Matt Gaetz.”
It was not a slip of the tongue or mistake, as the governor’s social media team tweeted out the same expression at almost the same time.
“And based on his past performances, it is obvious that being a knucklehead is not beyond the pale for him,” said Murphy, who then showed a picture of Gaetz wearing a full gas mask earlier this year.
“What a fool…he and them should be ashamed of themselves,” said Murphy. “I hope you are watching Matt, as you are not welcome in New Jersey and frankly I don’t want you back in this state.”
Later in the briefing, Murphy said the shots he had taken “were richly deserved….this studipidy is completely inconsistent of what we are about as a state.”
Gaetz Tweets Back
Gaetz responded on Twitter, first tweeting “Dear Business Owners, Escape the Tyranny. Move to Florida,” followed by one directly to Murphy’s twitter “You’re gonna regret this tweet when you move to Florida like the rest of New Jersey.”
The congressman later tweeted “Thank you for calling me handsome, Governor! I’m only considered handsome in New Jersey, though. In Florida, I’m barely a roundup 6.”
The governor said the state would support Jersey City in its investigation of the event, but would not comment any further due to it being an active case. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said law enforcement is following up at the venue, Maritime Parc, and take the appropriate steps within the laws of New Jersey.
As of Dec. 4, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 356,662 with 5,673 total new cases reported and 48 new deaths, bringing that total to 15,419. The state listed probable deaths at 1,836, bringing the overall total to 17,255.
For North Jersey counties, Bergen had a total of 603 new cases, Essex 591 new cases, Hudson 534 new cases, Passaic 458 new cases, Morris 200 new cases, Sussex 69 new cases and Warren 57 new cases.
State officials noted 49 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,021, followed by Bergen at 1,907, Hudson with 1,441, Passaic at 1,189, Morris at 720, Sussex at 162 and Warren with 160.
In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 252, Essex has 233, Hudson has 159, Morris has 148, Passaic has 144, Sussex has 38 and Warren has 13.
The daily rate of infections from those tested as of Nov. 28 was 10.4% on about 50,000 test, with the North having a rate of 10.2%, Central 10.4% and South 11.6%. The state is no longer using serology tests as health officials explained those results show a past presence of the disease as well as a current one.
As for the rate of transmission, it decreased to 1.05 from 1.06 the day before. Officials have continually cited transmission rate and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.
Officials reported 3,315 patients were hospitalized—with 3,073 confirmed cases and 343 cases under investigation. By region, there were 1,629 in the North, 995 in the Central and 691 in the South.
Of those hospitalized, 615 are in intensive care units and 386 on ventilators, while 362 patients were discharged compared with with 385 new hospitalizations.
Essex Tops County Count
Essex has the most cumulative cases in the state with 37,134, followed by Bergen at 36,840, Hudson at 33,429, Middlesex at 32,468, Passaic at 31,802, Union at 29,579, Ocean at 23,240, Monmouth at 22,030, Camden at 20,727, Burlington at 14,647, Mercer at 14,531, Morris at 14,456, Gloucester at 9,848, Somerset at 9,606, Atlantic at 8,474, Cumberland at 5,392, Sussex at 2,808, Warren at 2,672, Hunterdon at 2,653, Salem at 1,773 and Cape May at 1,747.
Another 806 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 70 outbreaks involving 285 cases have been reported in 19 of the 21 counties in the Garden State, with four new outbreaks involving 16 cases recorded in the last week. For North Jersey, Bergen County has nine confirmed outbreaks with 24 cases, Warren County has four confirmed outbreaks with nine cases, Sussex County has three confirmed outbreaks with seven cases, Hudson County has two confirmed outbreaks with 10 cases and Passaic County has two confirmed outbreaks with 19 cases.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 342 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 6,622 of the cases, broken down between 3,051 residents and 3,571 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,038 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 27,071 residents and 16,227 staff, for a total of 43,298 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,321 on Dec. 3. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,972 residents deaths and 122 staff deaths.