New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is a friend. I have publicly supported him in every instance that I could during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s an easy game to play “Monday Morning Quarterback” after-the-fact.

However, it is always an important exercise to review overall performance once data is available to determine how you did in the moment versus the rest of the nation.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper on states' actions to mitigate the
pandemic has been released.

Here are the cold, hard facts. New Jersey finished dead last by the data as compiled by (NBER):


In the dangerous world in which we now live, this likely will not be the last health emergency that we will face.

This makes it imperative that we objectively review what worked and what didn’t work.

In hindsight, the aggressive lock downs did not serve New Jersey well in the end. It hurt our state in many ways:

  • Economically. 1/3 of New Jersey businesses closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Children were kept out of the classroom.
  • Social emotional well being negatively impacted.

The trade off for implementing these policies still landed New Jersey at the bottom of all 50 states.

The Top 10 and bottom 10 states were evaluated by these metrics, which resulted in a combined score, measured by:

  • Economy.
  • Education.
  • Mortality

No excuses offered, but, in fairness … New Jersey is the most densely populated state in America … making it difficult to look good when making state-to-state comparisons such as this.

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However, we have to own “our” last place finish and learn from it.

New Jersey's strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19 was also ranked among the least effective in the nation, according to another study, conducted by the UC Berkeley's Othering & Belonging Institute.

In this study, New Jersey finished 46th worst in the nation. This near bottom performance occurred despite having some of the absolute toughest, most restrictive COVID-19 policies in America.

Here is a link to the UC Berkeley's Othering & Belonging Institute study.

You can read the report here.

To compile the ranking, they measured the performance of all 50 states and 172 countries, based on three factors:

  • Rates of infection.
  • Deaths.
  • Testing.

SOURCES: The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Guy Benson Tweet & UC Berkeley's Othering & Belonging Institute study.

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