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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.)

No return to normalcy in near term, Murphy says

By Nikita Biryukov, March 25 2020 4:02 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy doesn’t expect New Jersey to return to a state of normalcy soon.

“We’re calling this as straight as we can. We’re giving you the facts as straight as we see them. We just don’t see that in the near term,” he said at Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing. “We’re making our decisions at every step, as we have since January, on the basis of facts, data, science, medical and health inputs. We just don’t see it.”

President Donald Trump and a growing cohort of conservative commentators have pushed for mitigation measures imposed to blunt the spread of the novel coronavirus be rescinded sooner rather than later to minimize the country’s economic downturn.

Trump, how has seen most of the gains markets made under his first term obliterated in the past weeks, has said he hopes to have the country’s businesses open and operating by Easter, a timeline that most health officials have criticized as unrealistic.

Murphy and others worry that returning to the normal state of affairs too early would lend the virus, whose peak state officials expect is still two to three weeks out, a second wind and further bludgeon the country’s economy.

“I think the order of business is pretty clear to us. We break the back of the coronavirus first, and then we begin to open up the economy and society,” he said. “If we somehow transpose those steps and we begin to prematurely open things up, I believe we only throw gasoline on the fire of the virus and we pay a far bigger price down the road.”

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