Governors Say Time to Learn How to Live With COVID-19

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
January 31, 2022Updated: January 31, 2022

Several governors said over the weekend that Americans will have to learn how to live in a world with COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“We’re not going to manage this to zero. We have to learn how to live with this,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Murphy said he agreed with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, who earlier in the program said he believed it was time to start treating the illness differently.

“I do believe that we need to move from a pandemic status and mode of operation, to more endemic, where we’re normalizing, taking it very seriously, preparing, but I think we need to move out of the panic mode. I think we need to handle this to make sure that we continue with our normal lives,” Hutchinson said.

The keys to the COVID-19 response now are ensuring access to therapeutics and tests, which requires improving the supply chains for those products, the governor added.

The comments come as cases in many states, including Arkansas and New Jersey, continue to drop after hitting record highs in early or mid-January.

Arkansas reported more than 102,500 active cases on Jan. 21. Six days later, that number was down to about 75,000.

New Jersey logged 33,459 cases on Jan. 7 and just 2,603 on Jan. 30.

Abortion Restrictions Arkansas
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks to reporters in Little Rock, Ark., on Jan. 13, 2020. (Andrew Demillo/AP Photo)

Nationwide, cases are down 60 percent from the Jan. 10 peak, and hospital admissions have dropped from 6.5 per 100,000 people to 5.3 per 100,000 people.

Deaths, a lagging indicator, are rising, but the climb is slowing, data reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.

Many experts say the CCP virus will likely become endemic, including some who once believed it could be eradicated.

Some other state leaders previously called for a shift in approach to COVID-19.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, said in December 2021 that the COVID emergency was “over” because of how long vaccines had been available and how effective they’d been in preventing severe disease.

The Omicron variant of the CCP virus easily bypasses the vaccines’ protection against infection, but studies indicate the shots still protect well against hospitalization and death, especially among those who got a booster dose.

Still, a number of officials have been imposing fresh restrictions or rules to try to deal with the pandemic, including Murphy, who recently ordered all health care workers to get booster shots or face termination.

“When the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Biden administration’s step on health care, that was an easy step for us to take,” Murphy said on NBC.

Hutchinson, like many Republican governors, has forgone mandates, and Democrat-led states haven’t fared better on average during the pandemic, leading some to criticize their restrictions.

The governor pointed to how the Supreme Court, while lifting the blocks against the federal vaccine mandate for workers who work for institutions that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding, deemed a separate mandate for all private employers with 100 or more employees an overreach.

“It’s got to be that education. It’s got to be that consistent messaging. And so we want to improve those numbers,” Hutchinson said. “But the right path is not by the mandate route.”

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