OPINION: Gov. Phil Murphy is Right—Despite COVID-19 Vaccinations Increasing, Masks Are Still Needed

New Jersey now has three vaccines in its toolbox, with the first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered in New Jersey March 5. It feels like the momentum is moving forward toward getting back to what our normal lives were.

Ravaged last Spring, long-term care facilities show where the vaccine can lead us to. The number of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey nursing homes plunged by 90% and deaths dropped by 50% since the vaccination campaign began two months ago. In New Jersey, cases have plummeted from 13.7 positive cases per 1,000 residents in late December, when the vaccination campaign began, to 1.5 per 1,000 by late February. 

Putting those numbers in context, the data comes during the time new coronavirus cases were reaching new high in the Garden State in the teeth of the pandemic’s Winter wave. 

Last week’s plan expanding those eligible for the vaccine—getting teachers eligible on March 15, expanding the list of those with underlying health conditions immediately, greatly expanding different workers by the end of this month, earmarking the one-jab dose to hard to reach communities—shows reopening the state is closer to reality. State officials believe they will be able to reach their goal of getting 70% of New Jerseyans vaccinated by Memorial Day Weekend.

That means more in-person instruction by the end of the year at our schools, capacity limitations lifted for small businesses and restaurants and all of us able to gather with family and friends. 

But all of that will take time—during which we can not let our guard down.

We were heartened to see Gov. Phil Murphy said he was stunned by the recent responses of Texas and Mississippi to lift all COVID-19 restrictions, especially a mask mandate. 

“I don’t know what these states are looking at,” said Murphy. ”No capacity restrictions and no masking, particularly indoors. I think I could get it if you were socially distanced, if the states in warmer climates lifted potentially outdoor masking, but to lift it completely indoors? It just takes my breath away.” 

Now is not the time to spike the football in the fight to contain the coronavirus. We are nearing the end zone but there are still obstacles. The latest is the variants of the virus that the vaccine may or may not be useful against. 

We have been pro-mask in the attempts to combat the spread of the virus during the pandemic. The moves by the governors of other states to roll back these protocols that have proven effective should not be the model for New Jersey and just creates a mixed message that is not needed when we are so close to getting a robust vaccination program that will enable our reopening. 

In his reflection on a year living with the coronavirus, Murphy thanked all the residents that adhered to the health protocols that broke the back of the virus last Summer. We will need those protocols—social distancing, hand washing and yes, face masks—for several more months as we continue to reopen New Jersey. 


  1. No, Governor Murphy is a friggin’ IDIOT, as all other Democrats!! Masks should not be worn by people who already had the virus, or got vaccinated. Keeping everything closed has DESTROYED an already dead economy, again, thanks to idiot democrats, who want to keep you under their thumb, scared, and in control, so THEY can call the shots!! Is that what you idiots want? Not me! I am a VETERAN, and I want FREEDOM! After all, THAT is why I served!! So assholes like YOU can have freedom to do whatever you want to do, right, idiots?? SO, MURPHY, WHERE THE HELL ARE THE JOBS??

    1. How much do you want to bet they DON’T post this comment because I am lambasting the dumbass democrats??? This is the CANCEL CULTURE, who doesn’t want you to be able to FREELY say whatever it is you want to say!!

  2. Phil Murphy also thought Covid+ patients should be forced into nursing homes. Do you realize that the NEw Jersey death toll from Covid is second only to New York? Even inept California, where the governor is about to be recalled for his utter incompetence, has lost fewer people. So pardon me if I don’t care what Phil Murphy thinks about anything at all.

  3. Totally agree; we hope to travel to Yellowstone in August. Now that many states in west are opening completely and irresponsibly we are worried. We are hoping in that in 5 months it would be safe to travel again.

  4. here is my opinion……Get Murphy out of new jersey! I have disliked him from the very beginning. It is a sin the way he kept telling people to file info on that website and to wait for a response. First, he tells the public that the most vulnerable people are seniors and immunocomprimised and then originally he stated the teachers would be eligible for the vaccine in a second category. I am so outraged with him and his bogus staff. Murphy did not disclose who was on the committee that ordered the vaccine categories. I never heard of Perchichelli, the commissioner of some crappy title. she also was a menace to listen to. Also, what about the woman in prison who was punched 28 times while handcuffed. Hey, he is not my idea of a good governor. I know it must be so difficult to be a political figure in this horrible pandemic situation but after seeing so many very elderly people waiting in the cold early in the morning and then being rejected with the vaccine due to miscalculation, and after seeing murphy hide from so many sexual assaults and complaints regarding women, and knowing that he bought his way into New Jersey, I am furious and disappointed. As far as masks are concerned, I just read that the danger lies in people in other countries who are not going to get vaccinated and a strain different potency may develop so it wont hurt to wear a mask in a store or group setting. I am not going into department stores because I don’t want to wear a mask while I shop. It throws off my balance!!!

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