If the following appears to be written with a sense of desperation, that’s because it is.
As New Jerseyans adjust to ever-changing stay-at-home laws, an important health measure, perhaps the most important and obvious one, remains ignored and curiously unmentioned: we need to be quarantined from New York. This means closing the bridges, tunnels, mass transit, and ferries, to all persons other than law enforcement, medical personnel, and commercial trucks.
The danger, and indeed, already realized harm, cannot be understated. As I write this, New York accounts for nearly half of the Coronavirus cases in the United States. It has six times as many cases as the next highest state, which, not coincidentally, is New Jersey. We have more than twice as many as California, despite California having more than four times our population. Mayor DiBlasio recently estimated that half of New York City’s population is likely to contract the virus, “and maybe more than half.” That would be over four million carries of the disease, just a few hundred yards across the Hudson. Governor Cuomo says 40% to 80% of New York state residents could become infected, which would be over 15 million!
And yet, while the rest of us in New Jersey are asked to take drastic measures to protect our neighbors and have accepted substantial reductions in personal freedom (wisely), others place the rest of us at risk by traveling every day into the epicenter of the global pandemic, to return with new infections to spread to everyone else.
How, in the name of social distancing, can Governor Murphy justify allowing countless scores of New Jerseyans to expose themselves to this contagion on a daily basis, and transport it back to the rest of us?
You don’t need to be an epidemiologist to appreciate the obvious danger that arises from our proximity to the epicenter of a global pandemic, especially when we go out of our way to venture into and out of it in large numbers and great frequency!
So at a time when we are supposed to be flattening the curve, we are instead deliberately inflating it.
And we know what this means: more New Jerseyans infected. More strain on our hospitals, maybe to the point that they cannot handle the caseload. More people dead. And a longer, prolonged, and more pronounced epidemic than is necessary, with consequences beyond anything we have ever seen or could imagine.
Other states like Florida are requiring anyone flying in from the New York area to self-quarantine for fourteen days. We do not have that luxury. We do have the benefit of being something of a peninsula, but that only helps if we cut off the means of transport that connect us to the problem.
I commend Governor Murphy on the decisions he has made to date during this crisis, unpopular as many of them are. But now he has to make an even more unpopular one, because while nobody can really be blamed for this crisis, at some point the scale of it because the fault of those in charge when they simply refuse to make unpopular decisions. We all know what has to be done. The Governor needs to quarantine us from New York by effectively discontinuing travel to and from there.
I’m a Republican, so I do not support Governor Murphy on much. But I’ve been grateful for his management of this pandemic so far, because it has undoubtedly saved lives. So do what you have to do to protect us, Governor. The same people who will be mad at you now will thank you later. And even if they don’t, I will, and so will a lot of others.
Jordan B. Rickards, an attorney, is a former assistant prosecutor in Middlesex County and a former adjunct professor at Middlesex County College. He has run as a Republican for State Senate and freeholder, and is the editor of ConservativeOpinion.com.