Gov. Phil Murphy finally had enough.
The governor, who has promoted the best way to get unvaccinated New Jersey residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is through persuasion, went off script at a bill signing ceremony in North Jersey to tell those objecting to mandatory vaccinations they were costing people their lives.
After he revealed the latest coronavirus infection numbers, Murphy said “We are here at an inflection point in our fight, not just against the COVID pandemic, but also against the tremendous upheaval for thousands and thousands of New Jerseyans. Please get vaccinated if you are not vaccinated. We are not out of the fight.”
It was at that point that the governor turned his ire toward protesters gathered in Union City, where Murphy was making an appearance to sign into law a bill to prevent evictions and provide utility assistance. Behind a line of police, protestors chanted and carried signs in English and Spanish declaring “medical choice is a human right,” “forced medical procedures are crimes against humanity” and “my body my choice.”
“These folks back there have lost their minds—you’ve lost your minds,” Murphy said at the lectern, pointing his finger as he addressed the protestors. “You are the ultimate knuckleheads. And because of what you are saying and standing for, people are losing their life.”
“You have to know that,” Murphy added. “Look in the mirror! Look in the mirror!”
The governor ended his challenge to the protestors with a fist pump, amid chants of “Murphy! Murphy! Murphy!” from his supporters.
The confrontation happened just days after Murphy announced a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in an attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus. By Sept. 7, employees in certain state and private healthcare facilities and high-risk congregate settings contracted with the state will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be subjected to testing at minimum one to two times per week.
Murphy was not the only to challenge the protestors. The crowd and politicians, including Rep. Albio Sires, attempted to drown out the demonstrators, yelling “Shut up!” and “If you’re unvaccinated, get out of here!”
From the podium, Sires told the protestors. “When people say don’t get vaccinated, it makes me sick!”
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 10,563,520 in-state, plus an additional 382,403 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 10,945,923 as of Aug. 5. Of those who have received the vaccine, 5,167,107 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 165,522 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 5,332,629.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 1,194,930 doses (586,593 fully vaccinated), Essex 896,058 doses (432,959), Hudson 820,497 doses (394,055), Morris 655,789 doses (320,881), Passaic 555,541 doses (269,083), Sussex 153,010 doses (75,850), and Warren 98,988 doses (48,631).
As of Aug. 5, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 912,619 with 1,345 total new PCR cases reported. There were 415 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 132,549. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,045,168.
As for those that have passed, the state reported four confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 23,910. The state listed probable deaths at 2,719, bringing the overall total to 26,629. State officials noted eight deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Aug. 5, Bergen had a total of 121 new confirmed cases and 48 new probable cases, Essex 112 new cases and 15 new probable case, Hudson 77 new cases and 30 new probable cases, Morris 66 new confirmed cases and 19 new probable cases, Passaic 67 new cases and 20 new probable case, Sussex 15 new cases and nine new probable cases, and Warren 13 new cases and three new probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,738, followed by Bergen at 2,604, Hudson with 2,101, Passaic at 1,747, Morris at 986, Sussex at 241, and Warren County at 216.
In regards to probable deaths reported Aug. 3, Essex has 305, Bergen has 303, Morris has 260, Hudson has 218, Passaic has 203, Sussex has 68 and Warren has 26.
Of the 4,909,743 fully vaccinated individuals studied as of July 19, 6,381 New Jersey residents have tested positive for COVID who were fully vaccinated, resulting in 195 COVID-related hospitalizations and 50 COVID-related deaths.
As for the rate of transmission reported Aug. 5, it remained unchanged from the day before at 1.37. The daily rate of infections from those tested July 31 was 5.4%; by region, the rate was 4.9% in the North, 5.9% in the Central region and 6.2% in the South.
Officials reported 599 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 239 in the North, 204 in the Central and 156 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 97 are in intensive care units and 38 on ventilators. A total of 101 patients were discharged.
Officials have continually cited transmission rate, hospitalizations, intensive care units, ventilators 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.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 45 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 182 of the cases, broken down between 101 residents and 81 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,531 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,896 residents and 22,310 staff, for a total of 55,206.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,065 on Aug. 5. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,882 residents deaths and 144 staff deaths.