Phil Murphy admitted he was bragging a bit.
It all had to do with how the COVID-19 data in New Jersey – new cases, hospitalizations, deaths and the rate of spread – is declining.
He said at one of his briefings last week that we have the right to brag, as this is happening because state residents are doing what they’re supposed to do in regard to social distancing and wearing masks.
There’s politics involved here to be sure. Republicans have criticized the governor over the last month for not opening the state faster.
There have been protests, defiance and even a lawsuit by the state Republican Committee.
So if the governor thinks they’re wrong, he’s going to say so.
The cornerstone of Murphy’s bragging was news late last week that the virus is spiking in some of the states – Florida, Texas and Arizona – that began opening in the beginning of May.
Some may consider it tacky to indirectly brag about the misfortune of others. Additionally, we’re still dealing with a largely unknown virus, so you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.
Still, Murphy’s overall point can’t be discounted. No one knows how the history of the 2020 pandemic is going to be written, but as of right now, New Jersey appears to be in good shape.
As we know, the state is reopening piecemeal.
State and county parks reopened in early May and soon to follow were curbside pick-up at non-essential businesses, graduation ceremonies in July and the staggered reopening of such things as child care centers, day camps, indoor religious services and coming Monday, oudoor dining.
Salons and barber shops are next on the list.
Critics say the governor’s reopening strategy is not really a plan.
Perhaps, but it’s tough to argue with the success we’re seeing now.
A key metric is that the infection-spread rate is now below one. That means a person with the virus will spread it to fewer than one other person, which essentially means spreading it to no one. This metric
suggests that two people with the virus theoretically will spread it to one other individual.
The governor has said that at its height in New Jersey, an individual with the virus had a good chance to infect five other people.
There have been some missteps, of course. The governor may have closed parks unnecessarily and far too many virus deaths have occurred in nursing homes. And there was also the flap over the governor violating his own social distancing rules by marching last Sunday in a protest.
Yet, the overall news is good. And it is happening in New Jersey as some other states are pausing in their reopening as cases rise.
It’s been more than a month since a variety of polls showed Murphy with an approval rating in the range of 70 percent. Polls are fickle things, so we really do not know what the next round of polling will say.
But considering the fact New Jersey is making definite progress against the virus, don’t expect the governor’s approval rating to dip all that much.
That would be something for him to brag about too.