New Jersey Gov. Bluntly Tells Residents That Following COVID Restrictions Is Better Than Death

Julie Mazziotta
·3 min read

Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/AP Gov. Phil Murphy

As the U.S. deals with the largest increase in COVID-19 cases yet, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is urging residents of his state to continue following safety restrictions, bluntly saying the precautions are better than dying from the virus.

At a press conference on Thursday, Murphy was asked what he would tell residents who are tired of wearing masks and find them “uncomfortable and annoying.”

"You know what's really uncomfortable and annoying? When you die. That's my answer," a frustrated Murphy responded, NBC News reported.

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New Jersey dealt with one of the largest outbreaks of COVID-19 at the beginning of pandemic in March and April, and regularly saw an average of about 3,500 new cases and around 250 deaths a day. After instituting several restrictions — a mask mandate, closing down schools, restaurants and bars — cases settled down for most of May to September. But in the last month and a half, they’ve again soared up to nearly the rate from the start of the pandemic. On Thursday, New Jersey reported 3,492 new cases of COVID-19, according to The New York Times.

In the Thursday press conference, Murphy emphasized that these restrictions are temporary, but necessary right now.

"The one screaming ask is everybody please take this seriously and remember it's not forever," he said. "But we are in the throes of it right now. We are still at war and in fact we're far more at war than we were a month or two ago.”

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With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up in two weeks, Murphy asked residents to tone down celebrations this year, as many other state leaders have also done.

“We have got to ask you folks, please limit Thanksgiving. Please limit any private setting gatherings. Please wear your face coverings even if you're sick and tired of it, who can blame you, so am I, you got to wear them."

RELATED VIDEO: Pfizer Says Early Study Shows Its Potential COVID Vaccine Is 90 Percent Effective

Pfizer Says Early Study Shows Its Potential COVID Vaccine Is 90 Percent Effective

"This is a first but critical step as we continue our work to deliver a safe and effective vaccine," Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said

Murphy said that if cases continue to rise, he would consider switching schools back to all-virtual learning.

He also expressed some optimism at the news this week from pharmaceutical company Pfizer, who said their COVID-19 vaccine trials are showing more than 90 percent effectiveness. Murphy referenced a quote from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who said that a vaccine may be widely available by the spring.

"This is not forever,” Murphy said. “We're in a sprint right now and we're just asking people to bear down."

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