Gov. Phil Murphy is blasting those who oppose his new directive requiring kids to mask up in school next month, accusing these critics of being willing to let children get seriously ill and die.

New Jersey has lost seven children to COVID-19. State hospitals on Monday were treating 13 children for COVID-19, including two who were in intensive care.

The governor on Monday lashed out at those who argue the mask mandate isn’t necessary because "only" a small number of children have been impacted so far.

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“When they say 'only,' they are saying that they are perfectly willing to accept children landing in the ICU or dying from COVID. They won’t say it out loud but it’s exactly what they are saying,” he said. “They are saying they are fine with kids — many, by the way, too young to be vaccinated — contracting COVID. They are saying they will accept outbreaks that shut down schools.”

“They are saying they will just accept an untold number of asymptomatic children spreading the Delta variant among their educators and friends in their school, or taking COVID home to spread among their families,” he added.

Murphy said this is a fight between those willing to sacrifice our children for politics and those committed to doing everything possible to protect them. He has called on political opponents to not politicize the mask mandate.

On Saturday, nearly a hundred demonstrators gathered outside the governor's personal residence in Middletown to protest the mask mandate.

“I firmly believe a majority of New Jerseyans wholeheartedly reject that in its entirety,” he said. “We are not going to sacrifice the health of any child, any educator, any family or any community. We’re not willing to surrender our kids to this virus, unlike those opposed to this commonsense plan."

The governor said he’s being tougher and more direct because “we’ve kind of had it.”

He then criticized as “ridiculous” the suggestion being made by some that COVID is circulating because of buses of illegal immigrants from the border.

“Folks are saying stuff and believing stuff that’s just not true, it’s just fantasy land, irresponsible behavior, irresponsible words or actions not based on fact. They have to be called out,” he said.

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