Watch Phil Murphy: The next few weeks are going to be hell for New Jersey

TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey has some of the most restrictive executive orders on the books when it comes to COVID-19.  There’s a mask mandate, bars are shut down, restaurants are in curfew, indoor youth sports are shut down and there’s a state cap on how many people can be in your house.  None of that is helping as COVID-19 is now spiraling out of control in New Jersey.    Since Friday, 13,500 new cases of COVID-19 were reported. Governor Phil Murphy said the next few weeks leading into and after the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays, “are going to be hell.”

Although Hannukah is in full swing right now, Murphy urged New Jerseyans to “sacrifice their Christmas holiday”.

Murphy spoke Sunday on ABC’s This Week.

“For all the good news and the light at the end of the tunnel…the next couple of weeks are going to be hell, I fear,” Murphy said. “So we’re begging people to please, please please, don’t let your guard down, even when you’re in private settings. ”

Murphy said 60 to 80 percent of COVID-19 transmissions right now are traced back to private settings.  Contact tracing in New Jersey has been made difficult after 74% of residents are reportedly not cooperating with the governor’s army of contact tracers.  The Governor said the next six to eight weeks may be the most challenging for New Jersey.

Murphy said access to vaccines for the general public may not be available until April or May and that the promise of vaccines is contributing to an overall decline in people following health guidelines.  He refers to this each morning as COVID-19 fatigue. Now Murphy says New Jerseyans may think they can be saved by a vaccine in the near future, but with only 73,000 doses coming in December, that leaves 8.8 million residents without a vaccine, possibly until the spring of 2021.

“Celebrate holidays small with your immediate family…we know that stinks but please, God, that’s your downpayment for a more normal one next year,” he said.”

With indoor dining bans in New York City, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, New Jersey remains an indoor dining island in the tri-state region.  Murphy thus far has not taken any blunt stops to follow the lead of neighboring states.  He will speak to the public again on Monday.