While the state has religiously followed the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) throughout the pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy broke away when he announced a school mask mandate would end March 7.
The governor recently explained that he was comfortable with the decision due to the knowledge gained by the state, led by the New Jersey Department of Health, over the last two years.
“The other waves had long, sloping ups and long, sloping downs in terms of case count, hospitalizations, etc,” explained Murphy at a press briefing Feb. 16. “This (Omicron surge) went straight up and it’s coming straight down. So our experience when we took this step—and continues to be the case —is as wide from the American norm as we have been in any wave. We felt responsibly that we could take this step, and that’s the reason.”
The CDC currently recommends universal indoor masking in areas with greater risk of transmission, which can be determined by the number of cases per 100,000 and the test positivity rate. But federal health officials, including Chief Medical Advisor to the President Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, have hinted in the last week that a guidance change could be at hand.
But New Jersey has gone ahead of the federal government and Murphy stated geography played a role as the Garden State has been one of “the first places hit by each of the waves. That was in March of 2020, all the waves in between including Omicron.”
The governor argued that not removing masks at an earlier date has been proven to be the right decision.
“I think the overwhelming science and medical assessment from New Jersey, as well as nationally if not the world, was that there was still an enormous sense of uncertainty, that folks just were almost completely uncertain about what was around the corner,” he said. “Lo and behold, they turned out to be right and we got Omicron, among other things. There is, I’d say, overwhelming developing scientific and medical consensus that we have a much better sense of where this is going.”
But the Democratic governor continued to be baffled how and why the uses of masks became politicized.
“For the life of me, I guess it started with Donald Trump and that whole period, but they’ve become politicized,” he said. “Whether we lift the mask mandate or not, this has been politicized for reasons that are at odds with public health, for sure, since moment one.”
Murphy reiterated that he does support the concept of banning masks as it results in individuals or a school district having to sue to allow them to wear masks.
“I think that’s backwards,” he stated. “We’re saying listen, this is a responsible plan, a responsible time to do this. If locally, based on your local health realities or if you individually, a student or an educator or staff member, want to continue to wear a mask, you should be allowed to and not stigmatized.”
Focus Group Folly
And the Governor sought to put to rest the notion that his decision was based on a December focus group.
“That doesn’t mean that I don’t care or others don’t care deeply about what parents feel because we do,” said the man recently elected for a second term. “You don’t need a focus group, although it certainly was—it jumps out at you in a focus group….to conclude people are sick and tired of this thing. It’s everywhere.”
Murphy finished by stating “(We) overwhelmingly want to get this thing behind us. It’s the facts over here where (state health officials and I) have to make our decisions on. Notwithstanding whatever fatigue there might be, which is a fact, you have to make decisions based on the data. I want to make sure folks get that completely.”
The cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey as of Feb. 18 was 1,862,636 with 1,931 total new PCR cases. There were 482 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 292,764. The total number of individual cases for the state is 2,155,400.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 38 confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 29,698. The state listed probable deaths at 2,949, bringing the overall total to 32,647. State officials noted 21 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Feb. 18, Bergen had a total of 194 new confirmed cases and 67 new probable cases, Essex 226 new cases and 15 new probable case, Hudson 212 new cases and eight new probable cases, Morris 181 new confirmed cases and 22 new probable cases, Passaic 64 new cases and 55 new probable cases, Sussex 29 new cases and six new probable cases, and Warren 33 new cases and three new probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 3,233, followed by Bergen at 3,067, Hudson with 2,459, Passaic at 2,102, Morris at 1,208, Sussex at 371, and Warren County at 306.
In regards to probable deaths reported Feb. 14, Bergen has 321, Essex has 311, Morris has 291, Hudson has 223, Passaic has 200, Sussex has 83 and Warren has 27.
As for the rate of transmission reported Feb. 18, it increased to 0.60 from 0.53 two days ago. The daily rate of infections from those tested Feb. 13 was 6.4%; by region, the rate was 5.6% in the North, 6.9% in the Central region and 7.3% in the South.
The state’s dashboard had a count of 1,159 patients hospitalized as all 71 hospitals in the Garden State filed reports Feb. 18. By region, there were 430 in the North, 383 in the Central and 346 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 195 are in intensive care units—below 200 for the first time since Nov. 30, 2021—and 131 on ventilators. A total of 221 patients were discharged in the last 24 hour reporting period.
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 504 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 26,268 of the cases, broken down between 12,133 residents and 14,145 staff.
Cumulatively, 2,360 long-term care facilities have reported an outbreak infecting 46,588 residents and 37,821 staff, for a total of 84,409.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 9,219 on Feb. 18. The facilities are reporting to the state 8,484 residents deaths and 149 staff deaths.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 13,596,250 in-state, plus an additional 557,247 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 14,153,497 as of Feb. 18.
Of those who have received the vaccine, 6,474,108 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 222,775 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 6,696,883. With just under 8.5 million eligible in New Jersey to be vaccinated, 77% are fully vaccinated and 91% have received at least one dose.
State officials reported boosters and third shots of 1,550,506 for Pfizer and 1,298,030 for Moderna. A total of 62,783 New Jerseyans have received their Johnson & Johnson booster shot. Overall, 2,911,319 have received a booster or third shot. Overall, 51% of the 5.7 million of those eligible have received their booster.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has 710,153 residents fully vaccinated, Essex 576,734, Hudson 516,237, Morris 380,919, Passaic 350,917, Sussex 91,296, and Warren 59,388.
According to the state dashboard with 64.6% of all New Jersey schools reporting, new student cases totaled 3,910 and new staff cases 1,036 in the last week as of Feb. 6. Cumulatively, 132,263 cases have been reported— 103,614 students and 28,649 staffers.
In regards to outbreaks related to in-school transmissions as of Feb. 15, the state has tracked 503 school outbreaks and 3,433 cases linked to those outbreaks since the 2021/2022 school year starting Aug. 7, up 19 outbreaks and 178 cases from the week previous.
Outbreaks are defined as three or more laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff with onsets within a 14 day period, linked within the school setting, do not share a household, and were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting during standard case investigation or contact tracing.
For North Jersey in the new report, Bergen County has 57 confirmed outbreaks with 328 cases, Morris County has 40 confirmed outbreaks with 246 cases, Essex County has 33 confirmed outbreaks with 232 cases, Passaic County has 22 confirmed outbreaks with 188 cases, Sussex has 34 confirmed outbreaks with 177 cases, Hudson County has 19 confirmed outbreaks with 92 cases and Warren County has two confirmed outbreaks with 15 cases.
The most recent studies indicate that Omicron b.2 is as deadly, if not more deadly than Delta, and it spreads 30-50% more readily than Omicron b.1. It is so different from b.1 that scientists are considering renaming it with its own Greek letter. And it is also much more evasive of both vaccines and monoclonal antibody treatments than Omicron b.1 or previous variants. Currently, case numbers as well as hospitalizations and deaths are skyrocketing in Denmark where b.2 is running rampant.
So the decision to unmask our kids in NJ was NOT based on scientific evidence, or at least not on the most current evidence. Rather, it was clearly overly influenced by focus groups and the admittedly and understandably widespread COVID fatigue that is plaguing New Jersey residents.
I would, however, urge parents to demand that Gov. Murphy cancel plans to lift the mask mandate in NJ schools and daycare centers in light of this new and very troubling information.
Covid has always been about politics and control. Children were never at risk of dying from Covid, they are at greater risk of dying from drowning in a pool; why didn’t Murphy close all pools? Murphy canceled mask wearing for kids because his party is going to get CREAMED in November. And deservedly so for the pain and misery their despotic Covid policies have resulted in.
Masks make no difference in transmssion of covid and they never have . Masking is purely a superstitious act of theater
Omicron is not dangerous to 99 percent of the people that catch it
Despite all the restrictions and mandates the state of NJ has the WORST covid record in the USA. Actually one of the worst in the world
This is despite all the restrictions and mandates
NONE of these things has worked.
Florida opened up in Fall 2021.
the Country of Sweden never post any mask mandates and never closed schools
Neither Florida nor Sweden have had records as bad as New Jersey
There are many other examples of this.
Governor Murphy is a failure. And if there was any justice he would be removed from office and possibly prosecuted for malpractice and malfeasance .
The comments by the above “frederics” are psychotically wrong and hysterical
There was never any reason to close down schools or mandate masks or mandate vaccines
95% of this whole past two years was political.
The whole thing started when the Democratic Party weaponized the entire United States public health bureaucracy to try to defeat Donald Trump because of course everybody was supposed to hate Donald Trump. Then once Biden the demented puppet was an office it morphed into an attempt to punish the Democratic parties political opposition
It’s medical fascism.
Huge percentage of the population including the commentator “Fredericks”. I’ve been completely brainwashed from all the fear mongering to the point where they actually think that masks worked in lockdowns work and that omicron is dangerous and that these vaccines are safe and effective.
Do you have children under 5 that cannot get a vaccine? Do you have someone at risk in your home? If not maybe you shouldn’t be trying to have this conversation. With grandkids in daycare, masks are needed. My grandson’s school just closed down AGAIN for active covid cases. Another variant is surfacing, antiviral meds are in short supply, and the monoclonal antibodies are also not always available or working. I have never read if those solutions work for young children anyway . Maybe we should wait until the remedies for the illness are in abundance before cutting off the mask mandates. A few short months might make the vaccine available for the younger children. People should just get the vaccine. Then maybe the virus wouldn’t be able to mutate so easily. Once again it looks like politics is winning.
Dirk you seem to like to ignore the scientific articles I’ve posted previously, including those that have shown that N95/KN95 masks reduce INFECTION by 83%.
Likewise, you’ve ignored the articles and studies showing that b.2 Omicron (soon to be given its own letter, due to it being so fundamentally different from b.1 Omicron) is much more deadly than b.1 Omicron, and as deadly if not more so than Delta.
So please stop posting lies — they are indicative of your sociopathy at work.
Dirk, Sweden’s COVID case and death rates were much higher, at least 3-4x higher per capita than its neighboring nordic countries. So what’s that all about?
Florida case number have exploded, as have hospitalizations and deaths. This is happening despite the lack of testing and reporting, a deliberate effort by the governor to suppress the fact that his strategy of relying on monoclonal antibodies, and other treatments, instead of masking and vaccines has failed.
Karen, the odds of a 5 year old child dying from Covid are statistically zero. Zero. But don’t take my word for it; look at the CDC web site yourself:
255 5-14 year olds have died with/from (and mostly just with) Covid–out of 41,000,000 kids. Those odds are 160,000 to 1 (statistically, that’s zero). The odds for younger children are similar. Conversely, the dangers to child development that have been caused by masks is only now beginning to be understood. Putting a mask on a child, therefore, has zero material benefit, but possibly causes long term harm; is that what you want for your child or grandchild? Please try to keep your emotions in check and look beyond the propaganda that’s’ regurgitated in the mainstream media.
According to the CDC, there have been 914k Covid deaths to date. The vast majority (at least 90%) did not die FROM Covid, they died from other causes while “testing positive” with Covid. Therefore, fewer than 100k actually died FROM Covid, which is 1 out of every 3,600 Americans. By comparison, the odds of getting struck by lightning in one’s lifetime is 1 in 3,000. On average, therefore, it is more likely to be struck by lightning than to die FROM Covid. Of course, if you’re older (over 65) and have multiple co-morbidities, the odds rise, but are still only about 1 in 900 of dying FROM Covid. These are simple FACTS, based on CDC data, concerning the lethality (or lack thereof) of the CoronaDoom.
Furthermore, of all the peer-reviewed mask studies that have been done, there has been only one that supported wearing masks, and that study showed a maximum 1.8% benefit; ALL of the other studies showed NO benefit. Even the blessed, flip-flopping Dr. Fauci himself admitted in a recorded interview in 2019 that wearing masks to stop the spread of a virus was ineffective, and actually mocked the interviewer for even asking such a question. So…if YOU believe that masks protect you from the CoronaDoom, then you are free to wear them inside, outside, in your car, in the shower, and for the rest of your life, for all I care. Just leave the rest of us who have not joined your CoronaDoom cult ALONE.
False, James. I’ve posted numerous peer reviewed studies on mask efficacy in these forum, but you’ve conveniently ignored them.
Moreover, your decision to not wear a mask means you’re putting me at greater risk, as mask efficacy is increased if all persons present are wearing them, not just someone who happens to be vulnerable and who wears one. So, this is no different that asserting your right to drink and drive. Your risk to yourself by driving drunk puts others at risk. That’s why there are laws about drunk driving, and why there are and should be mask mandates in various contexts.
What you’re doing by spreading false information is enhancing Putin’s intended weakening of the US. Most of the social media posts against masking and vaccines have been proven to emanate from Russian bots or operatives.
You are what is known as a “useful idiot” to Putin.
Believe what you want. Tell Fauci he was wrong when he mocked wearing masks. Ignore the mask tyrants who tell you to wear a mask while they party maskless, all while laughing at you. Forget about the real-life examples of states/countries that rejected the masks and did no worse than those that forced the muzzles. And most importantly, keep ignoring the harm that restricting your oxygen levels causes to your health–so you can be safe from a virus that has a 99%+ survival rate. Yes, keep being a good little sheep and obey your overlords because they only have your best interests at heart.
The only grain of accuracy in yiur atatements, James was about leaders calling for masks who themselves party maskless. I have seen this, and its disgraceful.
Other than that, you are incorrect. Sweden did 3x to 4x worse on covid cases and deaths compared with its mitigation measured neighbors.
There is zero evidence that masks impede o2 flow, and many studies showing they don’t, whuch us why doctors have always wirn them.
1. Masks don’t work
– 12 studies show that masks don’t work:
– Even the corrupt CDC admits ““no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks”
While some studies have been done claiming to show mask do work for Covid, they are all seriously flawed. One relied on self-reported surveys as data. Another was so badly designed a panel of experts demanded it be withdrawn. A third was withdrawn after its predictions proved entirely incorrect.
2. Masks reduce O2 levels
– International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
3. Video of Fauci scoffing at the notion that wearing a mask prevents the spread of infectious disease (at 23:10):
27 page rebuttal letter from 8 industrial hygienists complaining about flawed CDC mask guidance:
I’ve posted peer reviewed studies, not conducted by the CDC, that show that properly worn N95/KN95 reduce transmission by 83%. That said, I agree with one aspect of this, and that is the notion that masks provide a false sense of security. There is only one measure that protects people completely, and that is staying away from others infected with the virus. That means lockdowns or voluntary quarantining.
Covid-19 has proven to be no more deadly than a bad seasonal flu. It affects primarily old, seriously unhealthy people. Anyone who believes that they are at risk is free to self quarantine. Forcing the rest of us to do so is tyranny and economic insanity.
Tell this to the families of the over 900,000 Americans who’ve died, hundreds of thousands of whom were not elderly.
One last time, James, a peer reviewed article on efficacy of masks, and their importance in preventing deadly COVID virus transmission (as well as other deadly viruses). I’m really not convinced by the non-medically trained industrial engineers.
You are free to continue to wear your mask and quarantine until the day you die, if you like. That’s the beauty of personal liberty. But when you’re driving alone in your car or walking alone outside with your mask on, and you pass someone who looks at you in utter disbelief while shaking his head, that will be me. Good luck to you.
James, I don’t wear my mask while driving, but always keep it with me, in case I’m stopped by a maskless cop, most of whom are unvaccinated and who are more likely to die from COVID than from any other cause. As for when I’m walking, yes, I wear a mask, in case I encounter a COVIDiot like you, who is also likely to be carrying the virus.
Because COVID is so benigns…
Well written! The writing is on point. Thank you for this.
If you need Residentials Lead Inspection Services, LCA, Inc. can help you We are here to protect your family from health problems due to lead exposure, so you should consider a lead inspection for your residence. Our highly efficient, licensed, and certified professionals will conduct a thorough inspection.