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N.J. Governor Calls Out Anti-COVID Vaccine Protesters As 'Ultimate Knuckleheads'

Fed up with a group of demonstrators protesting mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy lashed out on Wednesday during a public bill signing.

"These folks back there have lost their minds — you've lost your minds," Murphy said, calling out to the protesters. "You are the ultimate knuckleheads, and because of what you are saying and standing for, people are losing their life. People are losing their life and you have to know that. Look in the mirror."

The governor had come to Union City to sign legislation that would allocate money to prevent evictions and give utility assistance.

Murphy said on Monday that around 80% of positive tests in New Jersey between July 12 and 19 were from people who were not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated. Nearly 60% of people in the state are fully vaccinated.

New Jersey's confirmed COVID-19 cases are on the rise. The state reported 1,345 new cases on Thursday, the highest single-day total in nearly three months.

In line with the CDC's latest mask guidance, Murphy has encouraged all people in New Jersey to wear a mask indoors in areas of high transmission regardless of vaccination status. According to, only one of New Jersey's 21 counties does not have high or substantial transmission rates.

Josie Fischels is an intern on NPR's News Desk.

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