In his interview with Chris Ryan, Governor Chris Sununu spoke openly about how New Hampshire is dealing with the COVID-19 Virus and what the policies of the state will be as we go forward in dealing with the pandemic.
As New Hampshire and the rest of the nation braces for an expected surge in virus cases and deaths, the governor feels that the measures which have been implemented to expand hospital and testing capacity have put our state in a well-prepared position. In addition, the original models about the effects the spread of the disease have been modified. It is now projected that the death toll and spread of the virus will be lower due to the social distancing measures which were put in place. As the new data is evaluated, plans will have to be adjusted for the next three weeks, three months, and three years.
Deciding how and when to relax the stay at home policy will be tricky. Governor Sununu fears that simply removing the social distancing regulations could restart the spread of the virus. An abrupt change in travel restrictions could cause a variety of problems. As an example, he is worried about Hampton Beach in July being full of Bostonians with the coronavirus. Instead, the governor would gradually flex the restrictions, and he expects that people would continue the procedures which we are currently following, such as frequently washing hands, staying home if you are ill, etc. In addition, in the coming months, it is assumed that there will be better testing procedures, improved medicines to treat the virus, or even a vaccine will be developed.
When he was asked if he would direct New Hampshire’s State Troopers or local police to enforce curfews or to intercept out of state visitors, Governor Sununu flatly rejected the idea.
“When we say that this is the ‘Live free or die state’, we appreciate the freedoms that we have, but we also accept the responsibilities and obligations which we have as individuals.”
He credits this acceptance of personal responsibility by the people of the Granite State as the reason for the success of stay at home measures and the reason why police state tactics are not necessary.
Governor Sununu does feel that people from out state who intend on staying in New Hampshire for an extended time are expected to quarantine themselves for fourteen days.
When he was asked for his opinion about the NHL choosing Manchester as a neutral site for hockey playoff games, Governor Sununu was rather neutral. Since the games would be played without any spectators, he couldn’t see how it would benefit the state, but he did acknowledge that watching a live hockey game on television would be nice for the fans.
A telling point in the interview came when the governor was asked how he was dealing with the weight of making decisions during a crisis like this one. Governor Sununu acknowledged the help of the New Hampshire State Emergency Operations Center, especially Lori Shibinette and Perry Plummer. However, after the consulting and discussion is over, he has to be the governor.
“I know that every decision that I make is going to get a lot of people upset…I’ve made decisions unfortunately that have led to 100,000 people to be on unemployment… to make these decisions every day, it tears you apart.”
The governor ended by saying that he wasn’t looking for sympathy of empathy. Overall, he believes that New Hampshire is rising to the challenge and is doing wonderfully.