NJ Gov. Murphy Can’t Cite Data Showing School Mask Mandates Worked


On Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “The Lead,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) discussed the state’s plan to lift mask mandates in schools. Murphy defended the decision to impose the mandate in the first place, but couldn’t cite any data showing the mandates worked and that the numbers in states like New Jersey that had school mask mandates were different from states that didn’t.

Host Jake Tapper asked, “Have you seen evidence that these mask mandates have been necessary, that the spread and mortality rates in states where they didn’t have mask mandates were far worse than in places where they did have mask mandates like New Jersey?”

Murphy responded, “Yeah, I mean, New Jersey is clearly the place I know the best, and God bless our precious kids, no matter where they are, please, God, they stay healthy and stay alive. There’s no question that masking in our schools since the beginning of the school year has been a very smart public health step. I think we’ve had just over 2,600 cases of students with — COVID-positive since the beginning of the school year. That’s out of 1.4 million kids. So, it’s a pretty stark piece of evidence, I think, that this has absolutely worked. But you’ve got to meet the moment. You try always to not undershoot the moment and put lives at risk, or overshoot the moment and add more stress and mental health challenges to the system, and we think this plan of a month notice is going to get that as right as we can.”

Tapper then followed up, “Yeah, but have you seen data that definitively proves that these mask mandates have worked? I mean, the numbers you just presented are impressive. But are they different from the numbers in states where they didn’t have mask mandates?”

Murphy answered, “Yeah, again, I know Jersey, Jake, the best. But I’m highly confident and I’m sure our health officials will — could say it definitively. There’s no question they’ve worked. There’s no question getting vaccinated, getting boosted, and wearing masks indoors have all been positive health — public health steps, compared to the absence of any of those things in the alternative.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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