TRENTON – At the very end of Tuesday’s press briefing, the governor was asked about ordering residents to “shelter in place.”
This would be no simple thing.
Literally speaking, it would mean that all 9 million New Jerseyans would be more or less confined to their homes. Such a draconian measure apparently has worked well in China, but we are a lot
different than China. It’s called democracy.
Any such edict likely would provoke much opposition, not to mention being difficult to enforce.
The questioner wondered if the Murphy administation was “incrementally” slapping restrictions on daily life with plans to eventually move to a complete lockdown. In recent days, the governor has closed schools, imposed an 8 p.m. curfew and just today, closed indoor shopping malls.
No, Murphy said, there is no grand plan in place that the administration is aiming to reach.
But he did say that his intention is to “flatten the curve.”
By that he means reduce the growth of new coronavirus cases. And on that score, the news today was not good.
There have been about 80 or so new cases on each of the last three days. The total in New Jersey is now 267.
The governor acknowledged that more “aggressive action” will be taken if that level of growth continues.
He did not give specifics.
On a more positive note, Murphy said he believes that acceptance of the situation by three groups he highlighted Monday is rising.
The groups were young people who think they are immune, skeptics who do not believe the disease is real and those who just don’t care.
The governor seemingly has some anecdotal info and first hand observation that suggests the size of those groups is diminishing.
That’s really a good sign.
There are a lot of tough measures in place right now – not only the closings, but the recommendation to limit gatherings to 50 or less.
Murphy said state officials made sure there were no more than 50 people in the room for today’s briefing. There were 32, he said.
The governor calls the current state of affairs the “new normal.” And it seems critically important for all concerned – even the young, the skeptics and the do not care bunch – to adjust to the new normal.
That is the best, and perhaps the only, way to head off stricter measures down the road – like an order for everyone to stay in their homes.