NJ governor tells anti-vaccine mandate protesters they’ve ‘lost their minds’
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) on Wednesday tore into a group of anti-vaccine mandate protesters gathered at an outdoor bill signing ceremony, calling them “knuckleheads” who have “lost their minds.”
The governor in his address at the Union City ceremony highlighted that on Wednesday alone, New Jersey reported more than 1,100 new COVID-19 infections, 13 additional deaths and nearly 600 people hospitalized due to the virus, 99 of whom are in intensive care.
Murphy said that while the rate of transmission is “actually coming down a little bit,” he reminded residents, “we are still in the fight” against COVID-19.
“Please get vaccinated if you are not vaccinated,” he shouted into his microphone. “Please get vaccinated. Period.”
The governor, who is up for reelection in November, then gestured to a group of protesters who were pictured holding signs reading, “No forced injections,” and “Medical choice is a human right.”
“These folks back there have lost their minds — you’ve lost your minds!” he shouted.
“You are the ultimate knuckleheads, and because of what you are saying and standing for, people are losing their life,” Murphy continued.
“And you have to know that,” he added, prompting cheers from supporters gathered at the bill signing.
He then repeatedly urged the anti-vaccine mandate protesters to “look in the mirror.”
The governor was in the city, about 65 miles northeast of Trenton, to sign into law legislation providing an additional $500 million to the state’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program and $250 million for utility assistance.
Signing a sweeping housing eviction prevention and utility assistance bill. WATCH LIVE: https://t.co/DlpItxQFI8
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) August 4, 2021
The bill also extends the state’s deadlines for its moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic, and Murphy on Wednesday also signed legislation offering additional protections for tenants by allowing records related to their nonpayment of rent during the pandemic to be kept confidential.
“We are here at an inflection point in our fight, not just against the COVID pandemic, but also against the tremendous upheaval for thousands and thousands of New Jerseyans,” he said.
The protests come two days after Murphy announced that his government would be requiring workers in health care centers and other “high congregate settings,” including county jails and assisted-living facilities, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be subject to regular testing.
Murphy justified the move in a statement, saying that “some of our most vulnerable populations remain at risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 primarily due to exposure to unvaccinated individuals.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 66 percent of New Jersey’s population has received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, with nearly 59 percent fully vaccinated.
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