NEW JERSEY – Senator Anthony M. Bucco reiterated his concerns that a host of COVID-19 responses ordered by the administration of Governor Phil Murphy have not been driven by data as the governor has repeatedly claimed.
“We’ve all heard the governor repeat his refrain that ‘data determines dates,’ but we have a pile of mounting evidence to the contrary,” Bucco (R-25) said. “Health experts in the administration who have the data that should be guiding the State’s COVID-19 response efforts have said they were never consulted before announcements were made by Governor Murphy. To the contrary, those career public health officials were only asked to help justify the governor’s completely arbitrary decisions after those decisions had already been made. It’s absolutely unbelievable.”
Those concerns were highlighted in an article published Monday by The Record, “Are Murphy’s NJ reopening decisions data-driven? Health experts say they’re being ignored,” Bucco said.
The article follows a series of shocking revelations by whistleblowers in the Murphy Administration who have warned that few of the executive orders issued by the governor regarding reopenings or public health directives have been based on a thoughtful consideration and analysis of public health data, Bucco said.
In a letter to Governor Murphy in May, Senate Republicans, including Bucco, expressed similar concerns that “the manner in which reopenings have been announced appears to be arbitrary and inconsistent, with no clear communication regarding the metrics or benchmarks that must be met for executive orders to be loosened or lifted.”
Despite the many warnings raised from both inside and outside of the Murphy Administration, the governor has never once demonstrated “data determines dates” to be anything more than a catchphrase that’s disconnected from policy-making considerations, Bucco said.
“With so much at stake, it’s shocking that Governor Murphy has been issuing edicts that impact people’s lives and livelihoods based on little more than his gut feelings,” Bucco said. “When we have more than a million people unemployed in New Jersey and the second highest unemployment rate in the nation, it makes you question how much unnecessary harm has been caused by the Murphy Administration’s failure to consult the experts.”
Bucco also said the stories that continue to leak out from Murphy Administration insiders demonstrate why the Legislature must move forward with an investigation into the State’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“How many whistleblower reports do we have to read before the Legislature steps in to uncover the whole truth?” asked Bucco. “This isn’t about embarrassing Governor Murphy, it’s about finding the truth, creating transparency, saving lives, and preventing the New Jersey economy from suffering any further.”