What to know
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says he’s not ready to reintroduce mask requirements now or when schools reopen in September. The Democrat made his remarks Monday when the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended a “layered approach” that includes masks in school for children over age 2, regardless of vaccination status. State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli noted that the number of positive test results has risen recently for children up to 13 years of age, and most strongly among children 4 years and under.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Monday he is not ready to reintroduce mask requirements now or when schools reopen in September.
The Democrat made his comments the same day that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended a “layered approach” that includes masks for children over age 2, regardless of vaccination status, when they return to school.
State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said the number of positive test results has risen recently for children under 13, and most strongly among children 4 and under. She added that the total number of cases, the number of hospital admissions and the percentage of patients in intensive care have remained low.
Currently, children aged 12 years and older are eligible for vaccination. A vaccine for children under 12 is expected to be available by the end of this year.
Murphy noted that the AAP issues guidelines that cover all 50 states, many of which have lower vaccination rates than New Jersey’s. About 5.2 million of New Jersey’s 8.8 million residents are fully vaccinated, according to state officials, or about two-thirds of the eligible population.
“We continue to feel comfortable where we are,” Murphy said. “We’re looking at this like a hawk. I don’t want to go back, but if we think this is the right thing to do, we’ll do what the public health experts suggest.”
Murphy lifted the state’s mandate for indoor masks for people vaccinated against COVID-19 in late May.
Murphy and Persichilli provided an update on the number of fully vaccinated people in the state who have tested positive for COVID-19, also known as “breakthrough” infections.
Through June 28, they found about 3,500 positive cases, including 84 hospitalizations and 31 deaths among the state’s 4.4 million people vaccinated.
“These numbers speak for themselves, and they speak volumes about why everyone 12 years and older who qualify should get vaccinated,” Murphy said.