What to Know
- New Jersey reported a daily record of 5,673 new coronavirus cases Friday.
- Gov. Phil Murphy noted that vaccines are coming and urged residents to opt to get the vaccine once it's available.
- "The end is of the pandemic is not upon us with the news of the first shipments of a vaccine – but it is getting closer with each day," Murphy said Friday.
With the second wave of coronavirus bringing record numbers of COVID-19 infections to New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy is urging people to keep fighting transmission of the virus, noting that the vaccine is coming but that it will take months to get millions of people vaccinated.
On Friday, Murphy announced that he is signing an executive order that changes the state's immunization information system from an opt-in to an opt-out system for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Murphy noted that no one will be forced to take the vaccine, but that this order will make it more efficient for those encouraged to be vaccinated. He also said it will help make sure that people get the same sourced vaccine for their second doses.
Murphy said that 30 days after the ongoing public health emergency ends that people can opt back out of the program.
Murphy noted that several New Jersey hospitals (he didn't name any) are preparing to receive around 76,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The vaccines will go first to front-line workers once FDA emergency approval is granted.
He reiterated, however, that the first vaccinations won't suddenly end the coronavirus outbreak.
"The light on the other side of this pandemic is now becoming visible," he said. "The presence of a vaccine in our state does not mean that we can flip a light switch and remove all restrictions. Full brightness will take months and millions of New Jerseyans getting vaccinated."
On Friday, the first-term Democrat announced an additional 5,673 cases, the most single-day cases reported since the start of the pandemic. Nearly 500 of the new cases were reported in Camden County.
Murphy also announced 48 new deaths to bring the statewide total of deaths related to coronavirus complications since the start of the pandemic to at 15,419. Another about 1,800 deaths are suspected to be due to COVID-19.
"This pandemic is nowhere near over. We can’t give up the fight now. Mask up. Social distance. Wash your hands," Murphy tweeted Thursday while announcing a previous daily record of 4,913 new cases.
The rate of positivity on Monday (the most recent data available) was at 10.42%. Around 3,300 people were hospitalized late Thursday, with 615 of those people in intensive care.
Normally mild mannered, Murphy on Friday had strong words for Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and a group of New York City Young Republicans who held a gala event in Jersey City in violation of social distancing rules. Photos on social media show a tightly packed crowd -- with no masks -- surrounding Gaetz.
"That guy in the middle, the tall, handsome fella in the gray suit, that is Representative Matt Putz -- oh sorry, Matt Gaetz, and based upon his past performances, it is obvious being a knucklehead is not beyond the pale for him," Murphy said Friday.
Murphy has urged people to be especially conscious with Christmas coming up just as he had done for Thanksgiving. It's still too early to tell if climbing rates could stem from Thanksgiving travel because the virus incubation period is about 14 days.
With no state untouched by the latest U.S. surge, Murphy abandoned his quarantine list for a new travel advisory earlier this week. He now says no New Jersey resident should travel outside the state unless for work or other essential purposes.