Why Murphy will and why Murphy won’t bring back masks in NJ (Opinion)
It’s lonely at the top. With an election in 3 months and a Delta variant spreading it’s about to get a lot lonelier.
The CDC, as expected, rolled back their mask guidance Tuesday to say in areas where COVID is spreading in the United States even vaccinated people should go back to wearing masks indoors in public places.
Whether Gov. Murphy goes along with the new CDC guidance remains to be seen. For now he's merely "recommending" masks but not yet ordering them. Going back to mask rules after several months of a reprieve will be extremely hard for everybody. Especially those of us who were sensible enough to get vaccinated. We will then be paying the price for other people’s poor decisions.
Yes, for the record, it IS their decision. Other than hospital settings I do not believe in mandatory vaccination, especially not at the hand of the government. We did this with smallpox in the early 1900s and people today would be shocked at the draconian measures. People were literally dragged out of their homes and were vaccinated against their will at the point of a gun. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was legal. So while I believe the benefits of COVID vaccines astronomically outweigh the risks and dangers I also believe it is still your choice.
So why would Murphy bring back masking rules?
If Murphy is a power-drunk dictator like some of you say, I believe he’s driven by guilt. He knows he screwed up big time with allowing COVID patients back into nursing homes which then spread the virus like wildfire and kill thousands.
He may not like to talk about it much, but I think it weighs on him and always will. And I think much of what he has done since has been an overcorrection. A stab at absolution that won’t ever come.
Murphy has fallen into the mistake of the if-it-saves-one-life mindset. If this is a war on a virus you cannot be a general with that frame of mind. You’ll go insane. I’ve made the analogy before of "Schindler‘s List." At the end of that movie Oskar Schindler is ashamed that he didn’t save more people. Take that famous scene and substitute the gold pin on Schindler’s lapel with another restriction by Murphy and you have the same concept. ‘I could have saved more.’ Murphy’s hell-bent on saving as many as he can.
Even those who don’t want to be saved, meaning the unvaccinated. Those who believe fresh air and fiber are all you need to not die from COVID-19 are the ones he will stubbornly try to save. If he resurrects a masking order it will be out of his own guilt.
It will also be the scary numbers. The transmission rate as I write this is now as high as it was in the early days of the pandemic. That rate is now at 1.51 which means for every person who gets the virus one and a half others will get it from them. And so on and so on. Numbers like this can justify a masking order on Murphy’s part.
Another reason he will do it is that in any credible medical circle masking is now settled science. When they were first ordered all this was brand new and no one was entirely sure how effective it would be. While not 100% it has proven extremely effective. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you snake oil while swearing they’re telling you the truth.
Or will he not? Here are the reasons he won’t bring back masking orders.
Yes he will not only be pissing off those who don’t believe in science, he’ll be pissing off those of us who do. The CDC is telling people who are vaccinated they should also be wearing a mask. Not because the vaccines don’t work. But because it’s the only practical way to get the unvaccinated to wear them as well.
So Murphy runs the risk of alienating even those who did their best to stop this pandemic. And those were the ones more likely to be voting for him.
If he doesn’t order masks it will also be to avoid the ugliness. If fights had broken out before what will this new round of masking bring? That has to weigh on him.
And finally, the biggest reason he will not do it is the upcoming election. You can bet strategists right now are crunching numbers trying to figure out which way he wins or loses more votes. To mask or not to mask? That is the question.
Murphy will answer it soon.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.