On March 16, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 104 mandating the closure of certain types of businesses such as malls, movie theaters, gyms, bars and restaurants (except for delivery/pick-up), and announcing other crowd limiting measures. This adds to the series of high-profile closures – schools, sporting events, cultural institutions – already announced. These strong actions are essential to help control the spread of coronavirus and save lives.
This is part of a group of actions known as “Social Distancing” in response to the public health emergency. If we can reduce crowding, and maintain six feet spacing between each other, the droplets that spread the virus are less likely to find a foothold.
Social distancing doesn’t eliminate all transmission, but it slows the spread, “flattening the curve” of the pandemic – WHICH IS IMPERATIVE. This means that fewer people get sick at a time, so there are enough healthy nurses, equipment, and beds available to care for patients; enough healthy grocery workers to stock the shelves; enough healthy utility workers to keep the lights on.
This situation is rapidly evolving and we know this is stressful. But the best way to reduce stress is to have a plan. Breathe, slow down, and listen to reliable, trusted sources of information. There is a veritable fire hose of information, mistaken information, and malicious disinformation coming at us. Social media is fast but not necessarily accurate. Your local health department is a source of reliable trusted information.
Policies come from Federal and State governments, but making all of this work effectively falls upon you and your local health department. It’s a monumental task, but it’s all hands on deck as Public Health professionals use the best knowledge we can gather to fight the virus’s spread.
Your patience and cooperation is essential to slowing the spread of this serious infectious agent for everyone’s sake, old and young, weak and strong. It is a stressful time but we can get through it together. Remember to practice some extra kindnesses too — check in on older neighbors and talk to friends (by phone or standing six feet apart) or take a walk in the fresh air. We can and must work to overcome this, together.
Stephanie Carey, Health Officer
Montgomery Township and Boroughs of Hopewell, Pennington and Rocky Hill
P.S. See article explaining why Flattening the Spread is Essential:
How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart
… This is how we all help slow the spread of coronavirus