Murphy tells NJ: We must battle social distancing fatigue
Have you noticed?
Almost everybody is wearing a mask, but some of those face coverings are so loose they’re drooping below people’s noses, rendering them essentially useless.
Staying six feet away from other shoppers in supermarkets has never been easy, but some folks seem spaced out and clueless, slowly wandering down the middle of aisles, making it impossible to steer clear of them, forcing some degree of close contact.
Other New Jersey residents can be observed huddling close together, talking, joking and laughing it up as if the masks they’re wearing will somehow make it OK to go back to what we’re all used to.
New Jersey’s stay-at-home and social distancing directives remain in effect, and so far Gov. Phil Murphy is only talking generally about reopening plans. But it seems the effects of our new normal in the COVID-19 pandemic are starting to put a serious strain on the psyche of many Garden State residents -- causing what might be termed social distancing fatigue.
“It’s been an extraordinary show of force and teamwork by the overwhelming 9 million of us, but fatigue does concern us,” Murphy said Monday. “I am worried about fatigue 100%, particularly with better weather coming.”
Murphy said he understands why people are sick of staying away from each other, but “we know that this war is still far from over. We need to continue to focus on our social distancing.”
“While it stinks, I’ll use a PG word to describe it, the alternative is worse," Murphy said.
The comments come on the day Murphy announced principles for reopening the state's economy, but not yet any specific plans, dates or benchmarks for particular actions. And he warned it won't happen all at once, but in stages, with an a eye first to those sorts of public places and businesses that pose the least risk of coronavirus spread.
“We know exactly what will happen if folks let their guard down as it relates to infections, hospitalizations, ICU beds, ventilator use and sadly fatalities," Murphy said.
In other words, he expects hospitalization rates and deaths would spike. As is, Murphy's warning about new cases even in a controlled, slow reopening.
“We just can’t allow that to happen, and so folks, we get it," Murphy said. "We’re in a war. There’s no other way to put it. We didn’t say it was going to end overnight and it’s not going to end overnight, but if you want to get back to some semblance of normal the most important thing you can do right now is to keep doing what you’re doing: Stay at home. Stay away from each other.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com