“Tinfoil hat stuff” is what Gov. Phil Murphy labeled the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor’s recent claims the spike of coronavirus cases is due to illegal immigrants gaining access to the U.S. from open borders.
Murphy at his weekly press briefing labeled Diane Allen, the Republican running mate of Jack Ciattarelli, as one of the public figures or elected officials who are contributing to COVID-19 misinformation.
“The people I’m running against started repeating this ridiculous Fox News narrative that the reason why COVID is raging in Texas and other places is because illegal immigrants are coming over the border, encouraged by this President, with COVID and then being put on buses and sent to states,” said Murphy.
“That’s like tinfoil hat stuff.”
The comments from Murphy followed an Aug. 7 radio interview of Allen with David Wildstein on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour on Talk Radio 77 WABC. The comments came when Allen confirmed she voted for former President Donald Trump.
“It’s not because I thought that Donald Trump was a sterling example of humanity. It was because I really was afraid that Biden was going to be tearing this country apart,” said Allen.
“I mean right now, look at all these people with COVID who are coming across the border, and it scares me,” Allen continued. “They’re put on buses, I’d expect some of them are coming up to New Jersey.”
The Ciattarelli’s campaign said Allen statements were based on public health experts and U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials quoted in an NBC News story about how more than 18% of migrant families and 20% of unaccompanied minors who recently crossed the border tested positive for COVID-19. The campaign pointed to another story that some people seeking asylum tested positive after crossing the border in Brownsville, TX, and are headed to New Jersey.
Sen. Bob Menendez and the State’s Legislative Latino Caucus were quick to condemn Allen’s claims.
“Racism and xenophobia have no place anywhere in New Jersey, let alone its leadership,” Sen. Menendez tweeted. “If Sen. Allen really cares about protecting New Jerseyans, she’ll stop spreading this garbage and focus on getting every New Jerseyan vaccinated.”
“Senator Allen’s suggestion that undocumented individuals are spreading COVID-19 across our nation is wildly inappropriate and not grounded in reality,” said State Sen. Nellie Pou (D-35), the chair of the caucus, in a statement. “We are at a critical moment in our fight against the pandemic—now is the time to use our platforms to promote facts that will save lives, not shameful demagoguery.”
Looking at the bigger picture, Murphy said Allen’s and like-minded comments are part of disinformation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic that needs to be confronted.
“Let’s call the balls and strikes as we see them. If you hear something that’s crazy like that, be responsible. Don’t repeat that, in addition to calling out the person who said it,” said Murphy.
The governor went on to add “the disinformation (is) making people sick, and in some cases they’re killing people. Other people are irresponsibly repeating stuff that they’re hearing as though it’s true.”
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 10,692,291 in-state, plus an additional 387,514 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 11,079,805 as of Aug. 12. Of those who have received the vaccine, 5,219,628 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 167,420 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 5,387,048.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 1,207,115 doses (591,928 fully vaccinated), Essex 909,658 doses (438,371), Hudson 832,686 doses (399,132), Morris 661,335 doses (323,344), Passaic 565,025 doses (273,015), Sussex 154,407 doses (76,389), and Warren 100,071 doses (49,109).
As of Aug. 12, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 921,914 with 1,697 total new PCR cases reported. There were 567 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 133,338. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,055,252.
As for those that have passed, the state reported eight confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 23,952. The state listed probable deaths at 2,720, bringing the overall total to 26,672. State officials noted seven deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Aug. 12, Bergen had a total of 144 new confirmed cases and 87 new probable cases, Essex 148 new cases and 44 new probable case, Hudson 141 new cases and 32 new probable cases, Morris 78 new confirmed cases and 39 new probable cases, Passaic 66 new cases and 32 new probable case, Sussex 16 new cases and six new probable case, and Warren 13 new cases and two new probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,742, followed by Bergen at 2,606, Hudson with 2,106, Passaic at 1,747, Morris at 987, Sussex at 241, and Warren County at 216.
In regards to probable deaths reported Aug. 9, Essex has 305, Bergen has 303, Morris has 260, Hudson has 218, Passaic has 203, Sussex has 68 and Warren has 26.
Of the 4,981,445 fully vaccinated individuals studied as of July 26, 7,112 New Jersey residents have tested positive for COVID who were fully vaccinated, resulting in 212 COVID-related hospitalizations and 50 COVID-related deaths.
In the last week, breakthroughs accounted for 18.5% of all new cases (803 of 4,332), 3% of new hospilizations (11 of 378), and none of the 21 deaths—the second week in a row that no death from those fully vaccinated.
As for the rate of transmission reported Aug. 12, it decreased to 1.30 from 1.32 the day before. The daily rate of infections from those tested Aug. 7 was 6.5%; by region, the rate was 5.4% in the North, 7.8% in the Central region and 7.5% in the South.
Officials reported 763 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 314 in the North, 242 in the Central and 207 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 134 are in intensive care units and 55 on ventilators. A total of 85 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 76 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 320 of the cases, broken down between 164 residents and 156 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,564 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,962 residents and 22,386 staff, for a total of 55,348.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,069 on Aug. 12. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,886 residents deaths and 144 staff deaths.