Murphy’s top doc hints COVID-19 ‘freedoms’ will come and go as variants come and go

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TRENTON, NJ – In March of 2020, New Jersey shut down for 14 days to ‘flatten the curve’. One and a half years later, there’s no end in sight and the curves continue to keep coming and going, so do New Jerseyan’s freedoms.

According to New Jersey’s top doctor, Ed Lifshitz, Department of Health Chief Medical Advisor, residents can expect more of the same.

“I want to be more careful, and I think that’s what we’re going to have to be doing with this virus, meaning that there’ll be times when there’ll be less of it around and we’ll be a whole lot freer and the other times where the concern goes up,” Lifshitz said, hinting that the state’s COVID-19 mandates, restrictions, and requirements aren’t going away anytime soon, as the new omicron variant fuels new concerns and fears.

“President Biden has said it, and much lesser, I’ll say it as well. One of the things with this virus in general, I think we need to learn to live somewhere between complacency and panic, meaning we have a certain percentage of the population who would like to think that everything was over and not need to take any precautions at all, and on the other hand, some people are panicking over every bit of news and worrying about Omicron and everything else,” Lifshitz said. “When it comes to Omicron in particular, yes, we do not yet know exactly how bad it will be. I am certainly concerned. I am feeling somewhat better over the last couple days with some of the news from Pfizer and other studies. As you’ve mentioned, we’ll learn a whole lot more in the next two weeks or so.”

Lifshitz says COVID-19 response going forward will be like looking at a weather forecast. On cold days, you dress warmly. On rainy days you bring an umbrella. The same can be said for COVID-19. When there are more cases, expect less freedom. When there’s more cases, expect some relief and maybe a little more freedom.

“As far as in general goes, it is to some extent like looking at the weather unless I want to be driving or something. When the weather gets worse, I want to take more precautions,” Lifshitz said. “Even without Omicron, our cases are increasing now. We’re going into that holiday season, as been mentioned. People are getting together; it’s colder. There’ll be more virus spread and that is concerning to me, as well. I’m going to come back and say what everybody else has said and sorry for taking up the time, but vaccinate, common-sense precautions for yourself and your family, wear masks, particularly indoors around people that you don’t know their status of, and just take some general precautions.”

This week, Governor Murphy said the COVID-19 pandemic response is not about individual freedoms or rights.

“This is not about freedom or civil rights. It’s about their willingness to volitionally run the risk of infecting innocent law-abiding folks who have done the right thing during this pandemic,” Murphy said when Republican legislators refused to comply with Democrat vaccination checks at the Statehouse.