New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy speaks to volunteers during his meeting with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka during the gubernatorial election in Newark, New Jersey on November 2, 2021.
Edward Munoz | Reuters
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday that large-scale mitigation measures are no longer needed to fight Covid, lifting a public health emergency order that was declared in response to the omicron variant.
The public health emergency officially ends on Monday when the Garden State lifts its mask mandate for public schools, the last mitigation measure it had in place to combat Covid. Murphy said New Jersey is transitioning from crisis management to a more normal way of life as infections drop dramatically due to the unprecedented surge the state has suffered from omicron.
“Given the tremendous progress we have made, the time when large-scale mitigation measures were needed has passed and hopefully will never return,” Murphy told reporters at a press conference which took place. was billed as the state’s last official public briefing on Covid. The governor said vaccines and treatments make it safe to return to normal life even as the virus continues to circulate.
As New Jersey’s public health emergency in response to omicron comes to an end, Murphy said he would maintain the state of emergency declared at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. The governor said this n would not affect people’s normal life. This will allow the state to receive and distribute federal funds and cut red tape, he said.
Murphy held a moving moment of silence for the more than 30,000 New Jersey residents who have lost their lives to Covid. The Governor’s voice cracked and he wept as he commemorated them: “We must remember each of those lives we lost and the families they left behind,” Murphy said.
Across the Hudson River, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced he would be lifting the mask mandate for public schools starting Monday as well as the vaccination requirement for restaurants outside. interior, gymnasiums and places of entertainment. Schools will continue to screen students to ensure they stay home if they show symptoms, and masks are still required for events with children under 5 as they are not yet eligible for the vaccination.
Individual businesses can still require proof of vaccination and indoor masking if they wish, and parents can still send their children to school with masks if they wish. Adams said the warrants could be reimposed if cases or hospitalizations rise again. However, he said New Yorkers should get back to normal and enjoy the city.
The easing of Covid restrictions in New Jersey and New York marks a turning point for the region, which was the epicenter of the first wave of Covid in the spring of 2020 as well as the massive omicron surge in January. However, New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said the state will remain vigilant as Covid continues to circulate.
“It is likely that we will continue to have increases in Covid-19 activity,” Persichilli said during the briefing with Murphy on Friday. “So it will be important that we all continue to be aware of activity levels and adjust our behaviors accordingly.”
New infections in New Jersey are down 95% from a pandemic record in January, and in New York State, cases are down 97%. New Jersey reported a daily average of 1,449 new cases on Thursday, down from a record high of 31,699 on Jan. 10, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. New York state reported a daily average of 1,894 new cases, down from a record high of 85,000 on Jan. 9, the data showed.
In New Jersey, 74% of the population is fully immunized. In New York, 77% of the population is fully vaccinated.