TRENTON, NJ – One New Jersey senator is sounding the alarm on what he believes is an agenda-driven campaign by Governor Phil Murphy to use the COVID-19 Delta variant as an excuse for another prolonged lockdown and face mask mandate for the state.
This week, the state’s rate of transmission rose above one, automatically reinvoking Murphy’s pandemic powers. Now, Republican lawmakers are worried about what the governor will do next.
Senator Michael Doherty said New Jerseyans should not be shocked if Governor Phil Murphy uses the Delta variant and overly sensitive PCR tests as an excuse to reimpose COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandates.
“The Murphy administration continues to engage in a massive display of fear-mongering over the Delta variant,” said Doherty (R-23). “Nobody should be shocked if the Murphy administration uses it as an excuse to lockdown New Jersey again and reimpose all of the COVID restrictions and mask mandates we fought to have lifted.”
“Although the Delta variant of COVID-19 may be more contagious than prior strains of the virus, it appears to be weaker and less dangerous than prior variants,” stated Doherty. “It is well known in the scientific community that as viruses mutate, they become more contagious but less lethal.”
Doherty also expressed concern that the Murphy administration is allowing PCR tests for COVID-19 with a high cycle threshold (Ct) to be counted, despite evidence that many individuals who test positive at higher Ct levels are asymptomatic, no longer sick, or past the point of being contagious.
Last year, a New York Times article highlighted how many states failed to set reasonable limits on the number of amplification cycles performed on COVID-19 test samples, leading to unnecessary concern about high numbers of positive cases that actually pose little if any risk to the public.
“The Murphy administration still refuses to answer basic questions about how COVID-19 PCR tests are performed in New Jersey,” added Doherty. “His administration has refused to inform the public regarding the number of amplification cycles that are performed during testing. Why the total lack of transparency? Even though there has been a reported bump in the total number of cases due to the Delta variant, there has not been a corresponding surge of people who are severely sick or hospitalized. That fact alone should be enough to forestall a new round of executive orders. But I fear the worst from a governor who has shamelessly acknowledged that he doesn’t consider the Constitution prior to making decisions.”
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