As the Delta variant keeps spreading and COVID infection rates keep climbing in New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy continues to beat the vaccination drum loud and clear.

During the latest COVID update in Trenton on Monday, the governor implored everyone to get the vaccine, and he rejected suggestions by some that he’s using scare tactics to convince those who are not vaccinated to roll up their sleeves, or encourage an us-against-them scenario.

“I’m definitely not trying to pit one group of people off against another, that’s not the point here, we’re trying to be very blunt though, about what the data is, and the data is overwhelming,” he said.

Murphy pointed out vaccines are highly effective in preventing infection from the Delta variant, which is highly contagious. They’re even more effective in preventing hospitalization and death, and people who are not vaccinated are putting themselves at a serious risk.

“Folks have to hear that, that’s the reason why we’re saying this. They have to understand what they’re dealing with here, this is absolutely about keeping people healthy and saving lives,” he said.

At one point during the update Murphy said vaccines turn COVID into a preventable disease.

He also repeated that a statement he’s been making for weeks, that the pandemic is now among the unvaccinated.

“By getting vaccinated you are not only protecting yourself from a potentially deadly virus, you’re protecting your family and your community," he said.

He said there are some people who are “relying on talking heads or social media who are just wrong about this” and this is causing sickness and death.

Murphy stressed COVID rates among the unvaccinated are expected to continue to rise, along with hospitalizations, patients in the ICU and fatalities.

“I beg you, unless more of you step up these risks will remain," he said.

The governor noted the COVID Community Corp door knockers continue to speak to homeowners about the vaccine, currently going house to house in 33 communities, and plans may be developed to offer additional incentives for people to get vaccinated as well.

Earlier this year he offered people who got vaccinated the opportunity to get a free glass of beer or wine, a state parks pass and a chance to eat dinner with him and first lady Tammy Murphy.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

NJ arrests 31 accused child predators in "Operation 24/7"

A roundup of 31 men have been accused of sexually exploiting children online, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced on July 14 while detailing "Operation 24/7."

The suspects “possessed and or distributed videos and images of child sexual abuse, including in many cases videos of young children being raped by adults,” Grewal said.

Chat apps and gaming platforms remain favorite hunting grounds for child predators and even as the pandemic winds down, many children have continued to spend more time online.

State Police received 39% more tips in just the first 6 months of 2021 than they received in the entire year in 2019. The following are suspects charged in "Operation 24/7."

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