Here’s a very New Jersey Halloween idea for you – how about dressing up like a knucklehead?
Gov. Phil Murphy, who has long labeled those who violate pandemic rules as “knuckleheads,” actually had that on his mind today.
With Halloween on Saturday, the governor said some may want to dress up as a knucklehead – assuming one can figure out what one looks like.
But the costume has its limits.
“We don’t want anyone to act like one,” Murphy said.
That was it for the humor.
Murphy reiterated that talk of a “second wave” is now more than just talk.
“It is coming and it is coming now,” he said at today’s briefing, adding that the virus “has been waiting for us to get lax.”
The numbers tell the story. The governor reported 1,477 additional COVID-19 cases today. Equally alarming is a positivity rate that is above 6 percent. Just a few weeks ago, it was consistently less than 3 percent.
Murphy said he wants residents to “double down” on such things as washing hands, social distancing and, of course, wearing masks.
That’s about it. Which brings us to a paradox.
The surge, notwithstanding, the governor said he has no plans to scale back the reopenings we have seen in the state so far.
That’s because data indicates the surge is not coming from in-person schooling or indoor dining as limited as it is.
“We have not seen Joe’s Bar and Grill with an outbreak of 23 cases,” Murphy said rhetorically.
Private gatherings, as the governor has said more than once of late, are the problem. But there’s very little the state can do about that.
Who in their right mind would support police breaking up a party in a private home assuming nothing untoward is happening?
So this gets around to hoping – or encouraging – people to use common sense.
There are obvious problems. From the beginning of the pandemic, outdoor events have been encouraged.
But the calendar is moving along and as Murphy said today, “It’s cold, it’s raining.” So, people are less likely to hang out in the backyard.
Murphy admitted there are no good answers, but he had less trouble sizing things up.
“We’re at war, we are at war,” he said.