New Jersey State Senator Declan O’Scanlon pointed to the Murphy Administration’s dismal COVID case and hospitalization prediction record and called on the Governor to cease making predictions that prove to be consistently, wildly pessimistic.
“The Administration’s record on predictions has been dismal. Either the administration’s prognosticators are incompetent, or they’re purposefully, consistently and wildly overestimating case rates to scare people into compliance with continued restrictions. Either way, they need to stop. Incompetence doesn’t instill confidence, and none of us needs to be terrified into compliance. We get it already.”
O’Scanlon cited several instances where the administration has made bold, scary, demoralizing predictions that cases of COVID would skyrocket … that proved to be dramatically off the mark.
“Back in April of last year, Health Commissioner Judy Persichelli warned that cases and hospital admissions were projected to double by the end of the month,” O’Scanlon recalled. “The Governor warned we might need the severe lockdown restrictions to continue out into July. Such stratospheric cases and admissions would have crushed our hospital systems. Severe lockdown into July would have totally destroyed our economy. The stress levels this inflicted on business owners, hospital administrators and the worried public were tremendous.
“And what was the reality? Rather than alarmingly doubling, rates went down, precipitously, by 25 percent.”
O’Scanlon said the administration did it again this month.
“On April 1, the Governor and Health Commissioner presented two scenarios. The ‘worst case’ scenario had cases rising – to approximately 6,000 daily cases now and to over 8,000 a day by mid-May. A 65 percent vaccine efficacy rate was used to justify these alarming numbers, but nowhere in the world has seen an efficacy rate that low,” said O’Scanlon.
“So one must ask: What is the point of even sharing this alarmist, extraordinarily unlikely, demoralizing scenario?!? But it gets worse. The scenario the Governor said was more likely and ‘feels to me the closest to reality’ was its own disaster. Cases and hospitalizations he said would rise steadily from April 1 through April 18 – when we would reach approximately 5,500 daily new cases. What actually happened? Rather than steadily increasing, our numbers have gone down. On April 18, rather than 5,500 cases, we had 2,765 cases. The Governor and Health Commissioner’s numbers were double what actually happened – 100% higher than reality,” O’Scanlon continued.
“The administration’s predictions are so consistently wrong that a hospital executive I spoke to last week said he was ‘happy when they predict doom and gloom. If they said something positive we’d be worried!’ This isn’t the confidence our leaders ought to be inspiring.”
“I called the predictions preposterous when they were made because every indication was that our numbers were set to drop,” said O’Scanlon. “Our vaccination numbers were increasing rapidly, seasonality was working in our favor, the people of New Jersey aren’t genetically more vulnerable than those in the rest of the world, and the virus circulating here isn’t some unique, Jersey-mega-death variant.
“If they genuinely believe this drivel, then they have a competence problem and at least they should have the smarts to stop publicly showcasing that fact. If they are purposefully exaggerating the numbers, that’s abhorrent. We don’t need our Governor playing these games and treating us like children by intentionally attempting to scare us into compliance. We don’t need the Governor using fear porn to justify needlessly harsh, prolonged restrictions.
“What we do need, and have needed for months, is cautiously optimistic messaging and policies. We need projected dates of restriction relaxation so proms and graduations and fairs and festivals can be planned. We need nonsensical restrictions eliminated right now and a target date – soon – for complete elimination. If things take an unexpected turn for the worse, people will understand, but right now all indications point toward victory over the virus, and soon.
“The most likely scenario was, and is, that numbers will continue to drop. Good chance they’ll drop precipitously. The Governor should stop the fear mongering, and start optimistically leading. This is both what the facts justify and what people are longing to hear,” O’Scanlon concluded.