TRENTON - New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy does not believe that his state will need to enter another lockdown as COVID-19 infections continue to rise, but he has not taken the idea completely off the table.
In an interview with FOX News Sunday's Brett Baier, the newly re-elected democrat called the surge in cases propelled by the Delta and Omicron variants "unrelenting" and sympathized with those feeling burned out by the unpredictability of the pandemic.
"Our numbers are going up," Murphy said. "The Omicron variant is real, we've already been battling the Delta variant, this is unrelenting, there's an enormous amount of fatigue out there as it relates to this virus - by the way, I get it, I've got that same fatigue - but we've gotta stay vigilant, and we will stay vigilant."
- Omicron variant may hinder 2 leading drugs against COVID-19
- Omicron forces wave of closures nationwide as Biden warns winter of 'death' encroaching
- NFL eases COVID-19 testing protocols for asymptomatic vaccinated players
- Omicron variant detected in 89 countries; WHO says cases rapidly doubling
Murphy has been New Jersey's leader since the onset of the pandemic that has since infected over 1M and killed more than 25k residents, according to the state's website. New Jersey issued a stay-at-home order in March 2020 that marked the beginning of restrictions and mandates as the pandemic raged.
When asked if the state would again consider shutting down again amid rising cases, Murphy said he doesn't see it happening.
"You have to leave it on the table, but I don't see it," Murphy said. "Among other reasons, we have a very high degree of vaccinations, folks are getting boosted which gives another layer of protection against this."
Murphy credited New Jersey residents with voluntarily "accepting of what you need to do to push back at this," like masking at crowded public indoor spaces.
The New Jersey COVID-19 dashboard on Sunday said the state's rate of transmission was 1.2 with 22 hospital-reported COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours. Overall, the state has fully vaccinated over 6M people.