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Forum, March 25: Gov. Sununu has been behind the coronavirus curve

Published: 3/24/2020 10:00:13 PM
Modified: 3/26/2020 1:55:40 PM
Gov. Sununu has been behind the coronavirus curve

Let’s get it straight: Gov. Chris Sununu has mismanaged the coronavirus crisis in New Hampshire. He has been reactive — not proactive. After the experts press him and there’s public pressure, he largely gets to the right spot, but not often nor soon enough.

From his handling of testing, closing restaurants and bars, and the procurement of essential equipment, he has been behind. There’s no excuse for New Hampshire to be behind. We had weeks to watch how the virus has spread in other countries and states, but we didn’t get the necessary tests or protective equipment. Now, we are short on both, desperately attempting to fill the shortage rather than proactively acquiring a surplus. Unlike other forward-thinking governors, Sununu didn’t try to contract with commercial labs to increase testing capacity for our people or our medical providers. Instead, he relied solely on the Trump administration, forcing medical providers to call commercial labs on their own.

As other states were limiting access to restaurants and bars, Sununu maintained that we didn’t need to do that here. It wasn’t until President Donald Trump held a news conference outlining new guidelines that Sununu changed his position. We had a chance to be ahead in bending the curve; instead the governor put us further behind.

Until March 17, Sununu’s language had been detrimental to public health, calling it the “flu” or saying that there is no such thing as community transfer in New Hampshire, even though community transfer in other states had been well-documented. That belief prevented us from adequately preparing for this crisis and put lives at risk. The governor has since admitted there is community spread and shut down large gatherings and restaurants and bars. But once again, we reacted to the events unfolding before us rather than prospectively taking action.

We demand real leadership in this time of crisis, not political talking points and reactionary policies. All of us need to work together. That means we call out our failures so we can improve immediately, before it’s too late.

GARRETT MUSCATEL

Hanover

The writer represents Hanover in the New Hampshire House.

We can all get through this

If you’re like me, this COVID-19 crisis has made you forget how different life was a week ago, made you forget what day it was, and had you constantly searching for new information regarding the attempt to slow the spread of this deadly disease. I wanted to take the opportunity to share a few pieces of information with you as we move forward.

First, on the New Hampshire level, politics has been completely set aside, and we are doing everything we can to support New Hampshire residents who have been laid off. Even as a Democrat, I am grateful for the actions of Gov. Chris Sununu in our efforts, and have spent dozens of hours on the phone this week with many of my Republican colleagues trying to get support for crucial programs like Meals on Wheels to ensure our most vulnerable populations do not run the risk of exposure.

Second, if you were recently unemployed, had your hours reduced or need to miss work to stay home with kids, go to nhes.nh.gov and get in line for unemployment benefits. There is a big backlog and the system asks you to apply at a certain time for benefits, so follow that. But the longer you wait, the greater the risk of losing out on benefits in the event that things change. If you need assistance, call 603-271-7700. Please also sign up for Medicaid if you are now unemployed or are on reduced hours. The very last thing you want to do is heaven forbid catch COVID-19 and not have any medical support at all.

Third, have a plan in case you get sick. You do not want to be caught without one. Please remember that this is very, very real.

If we all follow warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the New Hampshire Department of Health, we can all get through this. I am grateful for all the acts of selflessness that I have seen from communities across the state. We’re in great hands, and together we will overcome this.

JOSH ADJUTANT

Grafton

The writer represents the Grafton 17 district in the New Hampshire House.

Give stimulus money to those who need it

Do not give money to anyone receiving a paycheck already: Government workers, retirees, welfare recipients, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, schoolteachers, state workers who are all still getting a check. Those who need help are private company workers, hairdressers, restaurant servers, salespeople in closed stores, small businesses. Do not waste money giving it to those who don’t need it.

JEAN LIEPOLD

Grantham

Real kindness in the checkout line

On Friday, March 13, I was shopping at Shaw’s for an event I was having the next day. It had been a challenging week, but I was coping — until I got to checkout and couldn’t find my credit card. (I’d rather lose my shoes.) I asked the cashier to suspend my bill while I searched my purse, my tote, etc. It was not there. I then tried to call home to see if I had somehow left it there, but I couldn’t use my phone because my particular model had been subject to fraud calls and was under fraud alert. I then went into total meltdown. I continued to sift through my purse when the cashier quietly informed my that someone had paid my bill but didn’t want a fuss made.

I can’t name my benefactor, but I really would like to thank her in person for her sensitivity and kindness. I am OK now, mainly because her empathy allowed me to recover and get back to business. (My credit card was lurking under my sofa at home.) I hope this woman inspires others to reach out to “the next person in line” and help that person get through a bad time. I try to do so, but will try harder.

JANE McCARTHY

Hanover




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