Wednesday, April 17, 2024
HomeHealthReport: New Jersey and US were not prepared for COVID-19 and state...

Report: New Jersey and US were not prepared for COVID-19 and state remains so for the next crisis


TRENTON, N.J. — Fresh Jersey and the people weren’t ready when the COVID-19 pandemic collision, and the shape “remains underprepared for the next emergency,” in step with an detached document inspecting Fresh Jersey’s reaction to the pandemic that sickened just about 3 million community statewide and killed over 33,000.

The document discharged Monday faults making plans, communique and decision-making earlier than and throughout the pandemic, which needful out in early 2020.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy referred to as the pandemic “the greatest crisis our state has ever faced.”

He promised an outdoor assessment of his management’s reaction to the outbreak in its early days. The $9 million publicly funded document was once achieved by way of the regulation company of 1st viscount montgomery of alamein McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP and Boston Consulting Crew. It was once led by way of Paul Zoubek, a former colleague shape lawyer common.

“I know New Jersey will be better off because of this review, and my administration looks forward to working with the Legislature on its recommendations,” Murphy said.

State Republicans have been sharply critical of Murphy’s performance during the pandemic, including mask mandates and shutdowns, but had not publicly reacted to the release of the report as of early Monday afternoon.

The report was blunt in listing failures leading up to the pandemic, as well as during it.

“We collectively failed as a nation and as a state to be adequately prepared,” Zoubek wrote. “At the state level, heroic actions were taken to respond in good faith to the crisis. Despite the lessons of the last four years, New Jersey remains underprepared for the next emergency.”

The report also noted things New Jersey did well during the pandemic, including making “significant systemic improvements.”

“The state, to its credit, took bold and early steps designed to substantially reduce the number of people infected: shut-downs, quarantines, mask requirements, and social distancing were all implemented and resulted in dramatic improvements in health outcomes over the course of the pandemic. By the Delta and Omicron wave, New Jersey became one of the states with the lowest death rates,” the report read.

It also said the state’s campaign to vaccinate residents and convince those hesitant to receive the shots helped New Jersey combat the spread of the virus.

“But no level of effort could overcome an inadequate healthcare infrastructure and scarcity of basic medical supplies,” the report read. “Neither the state nor the federal government had clear, executable plans in place to respond to and manage such limited resources in an uncertain and rapidly evolving environment.”

In a typical example, the report noted that in 2015 — five years before the pandemic — the state health department created a “pandemic influenza plan” that the report said “was extremely accurate in predicting what would eventually happen during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

But the existence of that plan was not widely known within senior state leadership when COVID-19 hit, the report said, adding that several people in state government it interviewed said “some other agency” ought to have an emergency preparedness manager for such instances.

“In fact, that position exists (and is staffed) in the other agency, but the people we spoke with were unaware of that fact,” the report said.

The report also found that communal care facilities, including those caring for veterans were particularly vulnerable to the spread of the virus due in part to “wholly inadequate infection controls.”

The report accepted previously issued criticism by the U.S. Department of Justice and the State Commission of Investigation finding “broad failures in leadership and management,” including a “systemic inability to implement clinical care policy, poor communication between management and staff, and a failure to ensure basic staff competency (that) let the virus spread virtually unchecked throughout the facilities.”

The report recommended updating and “stress-testing” existing emergency response plans, conducting training and practice exercises across the state for a wider range of emergencies, not just pandemics.

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Follow Wayne Parry on X, formerly Twitter, at www.twitter.com/WayneParryAC





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