Just as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy moved in concert with the governors of Connecticut and New York to try to contain the outbreak, he said they have begun discussing a regional approach to reopening the states once they determine it is safe to do so.
He said there were early indications that New Jersey’s restrictions were paying off with a declining growth rate in positive coronavirus cases, but that much more work is needed to reduce the number of new cases to zero. “That’s going to require many more weeks — at the least — of our being smart and staying at least at all times 6 feet apart.”
“No one wants to see our state back up and running as much as I do … it’s the singular goal that we are all working toward, but we need everyone in this with us,” Murphy said. “We must not just flatten this curve. We must crush this curve.”
Murphy and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have spoken morning about a broad plan to lift stay-at-home orders and reopen businesses and schools. Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut is also in talks with the governors.
One key to determining when and how to reopen the states will hinge on their ability to test residents and trace their contacts to avoid another outbreak. According to Gov. Coumo:
“How do you start getting back to work as quickly as possible? It’s going to come down to know(ing) who had the virus, who resolved the virus, (and) who never had it — that’s going to come down to (mass) testing.”
That’s in line with what experts have said is necessary for the country to eventually emerge safely from the pandemic. But the United States is just one of the latest to deal with the virus, and in a fractured fashion. Eight states do not have stay-at-home orders yet, and President Donald Trump has resisted a national lockdown, unlike other world leaders.
“The public deserves a plan of action to ease and ultimately lift restrictions in a careful manner that does not risk a resurgence of the epidemic, resulting in an endless cycle of infection waves and economic depression,” a team of experts from the nonprofit Center for American Progress wrote in a plan to end the coronavirus.
The nonprofit’s recommendations include a 45-day lockdown that would have begun this week; restrictions on mass transit and large gatherings until herd immunity is achieved; and testing so widespread that every person with a fever and every member of a household of a positive case has access to a test.