NJ Gov. Phil Murphy on State Shutdown: “Folks Needed To Be Jolted”

NJ Gov. Phil Murphy on State Shutdown: “Folks Needed To Be Jolted”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told ABC’s “This Week” why he announced a statewide ban on social gatherings and non-essential workers going to work.

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

MARTHA RADDATZ: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announcing a stay-at-home order yesterday, prohibiting social gatherings and closing all non-essential businesses. And Governor Murphy joins me now.

Governor, what finally made you tell your residents they have to stay home?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Martha, we’ve been trying to get out ahead of this. We first started meeting out in January. We formed a whole of government task force, I think, on Super Bowl Sunday, February 2nd. So at every step of the way, we’ve been trying to get out ahead of this. And it’s quite clear that unless we crack the back on the social distancing side, on that curve that we’re flattening the curve that we’re talking about. We’re going to have an overwhelming amount of pressure in our health care system.

So we took these extra steps. We’ve been taking them all along. My plea with folks in New Jersey is, frankly, just stay home. Unless you’re essential, unless you’re helping us in the fight, we need you to be at home and we need you even at home to social distance.

RADDATZ: And — and give us a sense of what’s happening on the ground there now.

MURPHY: Listen, we’re — I think the fourth state in terms of number of positive cases. As of yesterday, 1,327 positives, 16 fatalities, God rest their souls.

Our testing regime is expanding dramatically. We now will open up our second drive-thru testing on Monday. That’s good news. So the numbers are going up partly because we’re confirming the data. And that will allow us, as you all know, to better and more proactively deal with this awful crisis.

But folks needed to be jolted. I — I — you mentioned in the tape that it’s no time to panic, but just as — just the same, it’s no time for business as usual. We won World War II not because we panicked. We were smart. We were aggressive. We worked hard. That’s what you’re going to need right now.

RADDATZ: The New Jersey health commissioner, who’s leading the war against the virus, is essentially saying — said in an interview that everybody in New Jersey is going to get the virus and yet you are having non-essentially businesses closed.

So what would you say to those businesses who are closing if the commissioner thinks everyone is going to get it anyway?

MURPHY: Yeah, listen, we’ve got an extraordinary commissioner, Judy Persichilli, the first nurse ever to serve in that position in New Jersey.

My view is, we die trying. I — I — I think 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. And that will, God willing, save lives, have fewer sick folks.

We’re not sitting on our hands, by the way. We’re also working with the Army Corp to expand our health care capacity. But my view is, and I think the health commissioner joins me, the more aggressive we are on the front end, and social distancing, the better a shot we have on the back end of keeping more people alive and safe.

RADDATZ: And — and — and, governor, the Congress and the White House are finalizing a package to address the economic and the health challenges created by this virus. What’s the greatest need for your state right now?

MURPHY: So, we’ve got a couple of things. We are desperate for more PPE equipment, personal protective equipment. We’ve had a big ask into the strategic stockpile in the White House. They’ve given us a fraction of our ask. We are, as a state, private sector, public sector, nonprofits turning over every stone, but we need a lot more PPE, both to protect our health care workers and to treat the sick.

And then, secondly, the economic impact is overwhelming for workers, for small businesses. We need the federal government. We need Congress and the president to send direct cash assistance. We think New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut alone, those four states, need $100 billion, direct cash assistance, to allow us to continue the fight.

And I’d say, lastly, there’s a cost share between the feds and states of 75/25. We’d love to see that go to 100 for the feds, take the pressure completely off of states. So those are three specific asks that we have and they’re all (INAUDIBLE) priority.

RADDATZ: Governor, I want to — I want to ask you very quickly, if you wouldn’t mind, because we want to speak to some other governors, what was your reaction to what the FEMA director said? You said you still need those masks.

MURPHY: We sure do. We’ve had a good working relationship. Actually, FEMA Region II has been very good with us this week, setting up our two drive-thru testing sites. But there’s no question about it. We need a lot more PPE and we need a big slug of that out of the strategic stockpile.


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