Gov. Phil Murphy told CNN that the latest health metrics (all trending in the wrong direction) and the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (indicating the Delta strain of COVID-19 is more contagious than the chicken pox) are cause for great concern.
“That’s pretty sobering,” he said. “Without question.”
Murphy, speaking on “New Day” Friday morning, said he was not ready to mandate face coverings — or vaccines.
At least, not yet.
“We’re considering a whole series of steps as we speak — and my guess is we’ll take the weekend and continue to discuss out those potential options,” he said.
Murphy — who repeated his often-used phrases that “all options are on the table” and that the state is watching health metrics “like a hawk” — said the state is not ready to move off its “strong recommendation” for everyone to mask in high-risk environments.
And he repeated his plea for all residents to get vaccinated, saying it’s common sense.
“We’re strongly recommending masking indoors, particularly when you’re in an environment where you’re not sure of the vaccine status of those around you,” he said. “We’re still in the fight, for sure.
“We think strongly recommending (masking in) indoor settings when you don’t know the vaccine status is sufficient. But, frankly, we got to leave all options on the table of the CDC report — the more we learn about it, the more sobering it is, frankly.”
It’s just not enough to return the masking mandate, he said.
“For the time being, at least, we don’t think we need to,” he said.
Murphy did not dismiss the idea of mandating vaccines — clearly a stronger step. But, he indicated any action in that regard would start in areas that are the highest risk, including health-care settings, group homes, veterans homes and vulnerable populations, including prisons.
“My guess is, if we take steps as it relates to mandating on the vaccine side, it will be first and foremost in those types of communities,” he said.