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Gov. Phil Murphy. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.

Murphy defends masking policies as 13 kids are hospitalized with Covid

By Joey Fox, August 09 2021 1:32 pm

At his weekly Covid briefing today, Gov. Phil Murphy strongly defended his school masking policies from critics, calling them the best way to protect children from the pandemic.

“There are now 13 kids with Covid currently being treated in our hospitals, two of whom are in intensive care,” he said. “There are those on one side in this who will preface these numbers with the word ‘only.’ They are essentially perfectly accepting of these numbers… When they say ‘only,’ they are saying that they are perfectly willing to accept children landing in the ICU or dying from Covid.”

Last Friday, Murphy announced that masks would be required for all students, educators, and staff in New Jersey schools for the beginning of the school year; the mandate drew swift criticism from many state Republicans, including Republican gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli.

Children under 12 are ineligible for Covid vaccination, while many teenagers remain unvaccinated despite being eligible.

“We’re not willing to surrender our kids to this virus, unlike those opposed to this common-sense plan,” Murphy said, implicitly referring to his critics. “That is exactly what this is about. On one side, those willing to sacrifice our kids for politics; on the other, those of us committed to doing everything we can to protect them.”

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