Nearly three years after the first case of Covid was reported in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy today stated that an independent evaluation of the state’s response to the epidemic will soon begin, making good on a promise Murphy has made from the outbreak’s earliest days.
The report, due out in late 2023, will analyse the state’s pre-pandemic readiness, evaluate the state’s response to the pandemic, and suggest steps the state can take to improve its emergency response capabilities in the future.
Murphy stated in a statement announcing the study, “Throughout the epidemic, my responsibilities as governor mandated that I make every choice based on the available data, facts, and science in order to maintain the health and safety of all 9.3 million residents, regardless of the politics.” So that we can better prepare future administrations for a public health disaster, it is my job as governor to conduct a thorough and comprehensive evaluation of the state’s preparation for and response to the pandemic.
Since the Murphy administration has been heavily criticised for its pandemic response, the investigation will reportedly look into how the state handled its “most vulnerable citizens, particularly members of congregate care settings.”
Ex-Assistant Attorney General Paul Zoubek will oversee the assessment, which will be carried out by two independent firms: Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads and the Boston Consulting Group. Having worked under Republican governors Christine Todd Whitman and Donald DiFrancesco, Murphy is confident that Zoubek will do a fine job in his new position.
The governor remarked that Paul Zoubek, a former federal and state prosecutor who is “widely respected,” “apolitical,” and “seasoned,” was the ideal choice to head up the assessment because of his background in disaster management and government investigations.
Back in April of 2020, when the pandemic was only beginning to wreak havoc, Murphy suggested an independent review. A new wave of Covid continued to arrive in the state in the years after Murphy made this pledge, thus he never provided a firm deadline for this study.