Murphy’s warning as COVID cases climb: ‘Watch yourselves’
The numbers are scary.
During Monday’s COVID update Gov. Phil Murphy said over the past four days there have been a total of 14,466 confirmed new coronavirus cases — the highest 4 day total since the pandemic first began last March, representing 5 percent of all of New Jersey's cases, ever.
Murphy acknowledged that's a grey-area metric — testing hadn't ramped up at the start of the pandemic, so comparing positive cases then and now isn't an exact science. But hospitalizations have shot past 2,100, almost double what they were a week and a half ago. Those sorts of numbers haven't been seen since the summer.
In response Murphy lowered indoor and outdoor gathering limits and placed new restrictions on high school and youth sports events.
He said young people may think they’re invincible but they have to realize they are not.
“Maybe you think people aren’t getting sick anymore or going to the hospital or dying anymore,” he said. “Maybe you think you’re the victim of some witch hunt. Whatever the reason is I can assure you it is false. It is a myth.”
He went on to say “these are the cold facts. More and more people are fighting for their lives against COVID-19 as we sit here, and we are now seeing an increase in the number of those who are dying.”
The governor said even if young people don’t have misconceptions about COVID-19, they may not understand the danger they may pose to others.
“They could be asymptomatic in good health but be COVID-positive,” Murphy said, “and pass that to someone who is in a more fragile or older state.”
He noted New Jersey, in partnership with several other states in the region, could soon announce a plan for college students returning home for Thanksgiving break.
“I think it’ll have a fairly specific testing requirement and quarantining requirement associated with that,” he said. "Parents need to be full partners in this, and they need to know we mean business as it relates to what we’re asking of their kids.”
The governor also said the limit for indoor activities he announced on Monday — 10 people for private gatherings and other indoor get-togethers — won’t apply to high school or youth games or practices if the number of players, coaches and refs needed for a game exceeds the limit. But spectators will no longer be permitted to attend high school and youth games (if their presence exceeds the cap) and he cited the behavior at hockey games as one specific reason why.
“Hockey is in our crosshairs,” Murphy said. “We are hearing more than anecdotal, more than here or there, a lot of non-compliance, including by parents.”
The governor suggested if social distancing (when possible) and masking compliance does not improve, hockey competitions could be suspended.
“I want anyone who’s playing hockey, or mom and dad whose kids are playing hockey, I got nothing against hockey but watch yourselves,” he said.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.