JACKSONVILLE — A vaccine for novel coronavirus is still at least a few months away, but Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C. thinks its time to start getting back to work.
This was the message Rep. Murphy had for participants during a town hall-style teleconference Monday. The congressman, a physician who represents North Carolina’s third district, which includes Carteret County, said doctors have learned “a great deal about this novel virus.”
“We’ve made some great success with the science (on the virus),” he said. “But we’re not where we need to be.”
Rep. Murphy said he thinks while circumstances in North Carolina aren’t perfect, it’s time for businesses to start reopening and people to start returning to work.
“I think we’re at a point now we need to learn to live with this virus and not spend all our time running from it,” he said. “I think we all know this isn’t going to go away. We should start going back to work in a smart manner.”
Gov. Roy Cooper has begun allowing certain businesses to reopen; however, restaurants are still closed to dine-in customers until at least Friday, May 22, when the governor will consider implementing the second phase of his reopening plan.
During the teleconference, Rep. Murphy held two phone polls. As reported during the call, 83% of participants who took part said they think it’s safe to reopen restaurants, while 81% favor taking a regional approach to reopening, rather than statewide.
The congressman said the key to safely returning to work and reopening businesses is continuing to observe precautionary measures, such as wearing face masks, cleaning frequently touched surfaces and continuing to practice social distancing.
“I think it will be about two years until we get a real handle on this,” Rep. Murphy said, “but that doesn’t mean we can’t get out and live.”
One participant in Monday’s teleconference asked about the risk of a second wave of coronavirus infections. Rep. Murphy said he thinks North Carolina’s medical infrastructure will be ready to deal with a possible second wave this fall but North Carolinians should still be vigilant about taking precautions.
“It’s not an uncommon thing for a virus to ‘go dark’ then rise again when the weather gets cold,” he said.
Another participant, who said she works for Walmart, said she’s concerned about reopening businesses too quickly, and she’s considered “at-risk” due to medications affecting her immune system. Rep. Murphy said while he supports more businesses reopening, he also supports at-risk people continuing to avoid exposure to infection.
Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email email@example.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.