'They've given us a fraction of our ask' for protective gear: NJ governor

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is interviewed on "This Week" and discusses his state’s response to COVID-19.
5:02 | 03/22/20

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Transcript for 'They've given us a fraction of our ask' for protective gear: NJ governor
This morning, I signed an executive order directing nearly all of our 9 million residents to quite simply stay at home. With can no longer maintain a business as usual during this emergency. I repeat, it's no time to panic but it's time to be smart, proactive, transparent, aggressive, it's also no time for business as usual. New Jersey governor Phil Murphy announcing a stay at home order yesterday prohibiting social gatherings and closing all nonessential businesses and governor Murphy joins me now. Governor, what finally made you tell your residents they have to stay home? Martha, we've been trying to get out ahead of this, we first started meeting in January, we formed a whole of government task force on on super bowl Sunday. At every step of the way, we've been trying to get out ahead of this. It's quite clear that unless we cracked the back on the social distancing side, on that curve that we're flattening the curve we're taking about, we'll have an overwhelming pressure on our healthcare system. We've been taking these extra steps. My plea with my folks in new Jersey is frankly just stay home. Unless you're essential and helping us in the fight, we need you to be at home and even at home we need to social distance. And give us a sense of what's happening on the ground there now. Listen, I think we're the fourth state in terms of number of positive cases as of yesterday, 1327 positives, 16 fatalities. God rest their souls. Our testing regime is expanding dramatically. We now will open up our second drive-through testing on Monday, that's good news. The numbers are going up partly because we're confirming the data. That will allow us to better and more proactively deal with this awful crisis. But folks needed to be jolted. You mentioned in the tape there's no time to panic but just the same it's no time for business as usual. We won World War II, not because we panicked we were smart, we were aggressive and we worked hard. The New Jersey health commissioner who's leading the war against the virus is essentially saying in an interview that everyone in new Jersey is going to get the virus but yet you're having nonessential businesses closed. What would you say to the businesses closing if the commissioner is saying every's going to get it anyway? We have the first nurse to serve in that position in new Jersey. My view is, we die trying. I think the flattening of the curve, the social distancing, telling everybody just stay home gives us a real shot to keep the numbers down. To keep the pressure lesser than otherwise it would be on our healthcare system. That will god willing save lives, have fewer sick folks, we're not sitting on our hands by the way, we're also working with the army corps to expand our healthcare capacity. My view, and I think health commissioner joins me, the more aggressive we are on the front end, social distancing, the better shot we have on the back end to keeping people safe. A package to address the the health challenges created by this virus, what's the greatest need for your state right now? So, we got a couple of things. We're desperate for more ppe equipment, personal protective equipment. We have had a big ask into the strategic stockpile at the white house. They've given us a fraction of our ask. We are as a state, public sector, private sector, nonprofits, turning over every stone. We need a lot more ppe, both to protect our healthcare workers and protect the sick. The economic impact is overwhelming for workers and small businesses. We need federal government, we need the congress and the president to send direct cash assistance. We think New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut alone, those four states, need $100 billion direct cash assistance to allow us to continue the fight. I'd say, lastly, there's a cost share between the feds and states. We'd love to see that go to 100 for the feds. Take the pressure completely off the states. Those are three specific asks. Governor, I want to ask you very quickly if you wouldn't mind, what was your reaction to what the FEMA director said, you said you still need those masks? We sure do. We have had a good working relationship. FEMA region 2 has been very good with us this week setting up our two drive-through testing sites. There's no question about it. We need a lot more ppe and we need a big slug out of that out of the strategic stockpile. Okay, we thank you very much for that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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