New Jersey Gov. Murphy: We ‘Cannot Firmly Enter the New Normal’ Without a Vaccine

A medical worker holds a measles-rubella (MR) vaccine at a health station in Banda Aceh in Aceh province on September 19, 2018.
CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) on Monday stated the people of his state cannot “firmly enter the new normal” until a coronavirus vaccine is developed and available — something some experts warn may never come to fruition.

“Until a proven vaccine is widely available, we cannot firmly enter the ‘new normal,’ when life will once again return to all our workplaces, downtowns, and main streets,” Murphy said in a social media post:

Until a proven vaccine is widely available, we cannot firmly enter the “new normal,” when life will once again return to all our workplaces, downtowns, and main streets.

Posted by Governor Phil Murphy on Monday, May 18, 2020

Murphy outlined the multi-stage approach to slowly reopen the Garden State, stating the people of New Jersey have successfully flattened the curve of coronavirus cases and adding the state is now “well-positioned to continue our restart and recovery process.”

“Our multi-stage approach uses science, data, and facts to determine which businesses and activities can reopen according to their risk level and challenges they face to safeguard public health,” he said.

New Jersey remains in first stage, which relaxes restrictions on low-risk activities, such as outdoor activities including batting cages, golf driving ranges, shooting ranges, and horseback riding. All of those, per Executive Order 147, will be able to resume Friday, May 22 at 6:00 a.m. The first phase also allows some nonessential retail to reopen with modifications.

Stage two is a bit more aggressive, opening up “safeguarded restaurants with outdoor seating, limited personal care, and possibly indoor dining, museums, and libraries, all with significantly reduced capacity”:

Today, as part of our Road Back, I unveiled a multi-stage approach to execute a responsible restart of our economy,…

Posted by Governor Phil Murphy on Monday, May 18, 2020

Nevertheless, as Murphy’s social media update indicated, the governor does not believe New Jersey can firmly enter a “new normal” until a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is available.

While researchers are working on a vaccine for the virus, skeptics warn there is no guarantee that an effective vaccine will be developed, as no vaccine for other forms of coronavirus have ever been approved.

Murphy’s remark follows a similar view expressed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who told Californians this month that they are also not going “back to normal” without a vaccine.

“We’re not going back to normal,” he said during a a May 5 press briefing. “It’s a new normal with adaptations and modifications, until we get to immunity and a vaccine.”

While President Trump has remained optimistic on the development of a vaccine, he sent a pointed message to the world during last week’s press conference in the Rose Garden.

“I just want to make something clear: it’s very important, vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back,” Trump said.

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