TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s army of contact tracers, information gatherers tasked with piecing together COVID-19 stories in order to alert others of contact with infected individuals is growing by the day. Right now, the Governor’s force includes 1,835 tracers, calling residents and investigating COVID-19 positive cases. Initially, Murphy said he was going to have 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents. Now, he is at 21 tracers per 100,000 and wants more.
Few people are talking to Murphy’s contact tracer and the Governor isn’t happy about it. Nearly 20% of New Jerseyeans refuse the call from the contact tracers. Of the 80% who take the call, nearly 60% are refusing to cooperate, meaning the program is not working and most of the 1,835 tracers are being paid to be hung up on by the state government.
“We cannot say this enough — and it’s not their fault. They’ve been incredibly well-trained, they reflect the community, they’re members of your community,” Murphy pleaded. “They are with us. They are with you. Our contact tracers’ only job is to protect public health. The questions they ask are basic. As we have noted before, they asked whether the individual who has been exposed has a safe place within their own household in which to self-isolate, and access to a private bathroom to prevent spreading the virus to other family members. They ask whether the person who has been exposed has any special needs, especially regarding their access to food for the 14-day self-quarantine. They ask if the individual who has been exposed is showing any symptoms of COVID-19, and they asked whether the individual may have gone somewhere where others could have been exposed. That’s it.”
It’s becoming clear that the majority of New Jerseyeans do not trust the governor when it comes to COVID-19. The governor is responsible for the nation’s most draconian law enforcement efforts against the people during the pandemic, second only to California. Throughout the pandemic, the Murphy administration touted its law enforcement reach against those who violated his executive orders. Even this week, Murphy is warning and threatening restaurants not to break his rules, or else, he will force the closure of their businesses and the revocation of their licenses.
The average person, after being subjected to over six month’s of “Murphy’s Law” doesn’t appear to be taking any chances with Murphy’s promise of goodwill and amnesty.
“Having contact tracers at the ready is only one half of this equation. The other half is you folks, so please, take the call. Please cooperate and please remember, while we do not ever condone illegal behavior — for instance, underage drinking, we don’t condone that — this is not about stuff like that,” he added. “This is about public health. It’s not a witch hunt. You’re not going to get asked about your kids’ basement party. You’re not going to get asked about your bank number, your social security number. If you do, hang up. This is about public health. It’s about, we’re all in this together. We need you folks to cooperate.”