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RIP 'flattening the curve': Gov. Murphy says New Jersey won't return to normal until 'a proven vaccine is widely available'


Moving goalposts

Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Montclair Film

You may have thought that the social distancing measures forced upon us by our governments were designed to help "flatten the curve," ensuring that there weren't excess deaths caused by COVID-19 due to hospitals being overwhelmed. You may have thought that because government officials repeatedly stated that this was the justification for keeping us all locked in our houses.

You may have also noticed that the goalposts seemed to move an awful lot during the last few weeks, when it became obvious that hospitals were not going to be overwhelmed in the vast majority of the country, and yet many states remained closed down. Many governors and media figures started acting like the goal all along had been to completely eradicate the disease via vaccine before Americans were allowed to return to normal.

Even President Trump faced hostile questioning from the media last week for insisting that the country had to get back to work whether or not a vaccine was developed.

Of course, if leaders had told us from the beginning that we would be going into lockdown until a vaccine was developed, Americans would have likely balked at the idea since the most reasonable estimates for widespread development and dissemination of a vaccine involved a timeframe of at least a year and more likely 18 months.

However, now that we've all been locked down for two months, some politicians feel more secure saying that the lockdowns will not fully end until there is a vaccine, no matter how long that takes. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) made that clear in a series of tweets Monday afternoon.

Murphy's tweet thread makes it clear that New Jersey will not fully reopen until "widespread vaccination or lifesaving treatment" has been achieved, a goal that most medical researchers say is likely more than a year away.

Gov. Murphy was clear, "Until a proven vaccine is widely available, we cannot firmly enter the 'new normal.'"

Murphy's bait and switch comes as cracks are already beginning to show in the state's willingness to enforce Murphy's orders forever. Earlier Monday, a police officer made news by refusing to enforce the governor's order against a gym owner who publicly declared that he would reopen in defiance of that order.

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