Murphy on possibility of a lockdown: ‘I don’t see it’

But governor, amid rising COVID counts, repeats familiar mantra: You have to leave all options on the table

Two days after saying he feared the state would return to capacity limits in “some form or another,” Gov. Phil Murphy said he doesn’t think the state will resort to a “lockdown” due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases.

And — as he has throughout the pandemic — Murphy left room for all possibilities moving forward.

Bret Baier asked Sunday on Fox News: Would you consider locking down the state of New Jersey again?

Murphy said this: “You’d have to leave it on the table. But I don’t see it, honestly. Among other reasons, we have a very high degree of vaccinations, folks are getting boosted, which clearly gives another layer of protection against this.”

He went on to say: “For the time being, at least, we think that’s going to work for us.”

Murphy’s comments come at a time of an ever-increasing COVID case count in the state. On Sunday, the state reported 6,533 cases — the second-highest total during the pandemic (there were 6,922 on Jan. 13). It marked the fourth consecutive day of having more than 6,000 new cases.

The state also reported that there were now 1,852 people hospitalized as of Saturday night, an increase of 57 people from the night before and 104 more than Thursday night.

The good news: The number of hospitalizations is approximately 50% lower than a year ago.

Murphy said COVID continues to astound everyone.

“This virus has humbled all of us,” he said. “Every time you think you’ve got it figured out, it takes a turn you don’t expect. And eight out of 10 of those turns are negative.

“So, you’ve got to leave all those options on the table. Right now, we think we have the right package in place in terms of a layered approach to deal with this, but our numbers are going up. The Omicron variant is real.”

What that means moving forward isn’t clear. On Friday, Murphy offered a potential glimpse into a future no one wants.

“My fear is that we’re going to get back into capacity limits in some form or another,” he said.