Gov. Phil Murphy announced today that his administration will hold regular briefings on Covid come to an end the following Friday, March 4, two years after the first case of Covid infection was recorded in New Jersey.
“With the tsunami of Omicron, which continues to retreat rapidly; with the fact that the number of cases continues to fall and our hospital performance continues to improve; with the number of vaccinations among the highest in the country and still growing; and with the last serious state-wide mask requirement, in our schools, planned to raise we think it’s time to end these briefings in 11 days, “Murphy said.
Since March 9, 2020, Murphy has held briefings at least once a week – and, in the first months of a pandemic, usually every day – giving information about the pandemic and recommendations for camouflage, distancing, vaccination and other mitigation measures.
The briefings were attended by Health Commissioner Judy Persikili and State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan, who often provided information on future weather situations and natural disasters, and other members of the Murphy administration sometimes showed up depending on the needs of the day.
In addition to Murphy and Peach’s own reports on Covid, briefings also allowed members of the press to ask questions to the governor and his administration, both on Covid-related issues and on other topics.
The governor held a total of more than 250 briefings, which he said was more than any other governor, but he insisted that the time for such constant updates on the pandemic had passed.
“While we certainly understood the importance of these briefings for educating and rejuvenating residents, we also fully understand the need to go beyond the pandemic,” Murphy said. “As we move to our new normal situation and move from pandemic to endemic, we no longer need to gather here at a certain time every week.”
However, Murphy added that if the pandemic worsens sharply again, as it did in December with the Omicron option, he will consider re-convening for additional briefings.
“What would make us come back to this table? “I think it’s a significant, significant deterioration in the data we’re tracking to make important health decisions,” he said.