Gov. Murphy Admits Mistakes In COVID Response Following Scathing Report

Governor Phil Murphy on Wednesday night admitted the state’s mistakes in handling the COVID-19 pandemic and pledged to implement a long list of recommendations to improve New Jersey’s response to future public health emergencies.

A 910-page report released on Monday by a team of lawyers and consultants highlighted the state’s failures in responding to the pandemic, which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of New Jerseyans, economic devastation, and prolonged school closures. The report criticized both the state and federal governments for a “collective failure” due to a lack of clear plans and preparedness.

Murphy said he will be establishing a task force led by acting state Health Commissioner Dr. Kaitlan Baston and State Police Col. Patrick Callahan to implement all 33 recommendations outlined in the report. The task force will involve every state agency necessary to respond to public health emergencies and conduct training exercises to prepare for future crises.

The report’s recommendations include creating a permanent state Office of Preparedness within the state Attorney General’s Office, dedicating more funding to expand the public health workforce, and improving health care services for communities of color, which were disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Murphy said his goal is to present a comprehensive pandemic response plan by the time his term ends in January 2026, ensuring that the next governor has a solid framework in place to tackle future public health emergencies.

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