NJ governor says he issued stay-at-home order because 'folks needed to be jolted'

NJ governor says he issued stay-at-home order because 'folks needed to be jolted'
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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said Sunday that he issued a stay-at-home order for his state in the midst of the coronavirus crisis because “folks needed to be jolted.”

The New Jersey governor told ABC’s “This Week” that the state government wants to alleviate the expected “overwhelming amount of pressure in our health-care system” by ordering residents to stay home. 

“Folks needed to be jolted,” Murphy said. “You mentioned in the tape that it's no time to panic, but just the same, it's no time for business as usual.”

“We won World War II not because we panicked,” he added. “We were smart. We were aggressive. We worked hard. That's what you're going to need right now.”

Murphy said the “greatest” needs in New Jersey right now are “personal protective equipment” for health-care providers, like medical masks and gloves, and assistance for small businesses. The governor said in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut “alone,” $100 billion in “direct cash assistance” for small businesses is needed. 

“The flattening of the curve, the social distancing, telling everybody just stay home gives us a real shot to keep the numbers down, to keep the pressure lesser than it otherwise would be on our health-care system,” he said. “And that will, God willing, save lives, have fewer sick folks.”

Murphy signed two executive orders Saturday canceling all non-approved gatherings and closing non-essential retail businesses. The state had previously closed all entertainment venues, including in-person dining at restaurants and bars, and schools last week.

New Jersey has documented 1,327 positive cases and 16 deaths. The state borders New York, including New York City, which have both been hit hard with the outbreak, with 10,356 positive cases and at least 76 deaths.

Overall, the U.S. has confirmed more than 26,700 cases of COVID-19, with at least 340 deaths and 176 recoveries, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.