In an interview with Chris Ryan, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu discusses the huge reaction to his lifting of the state’s mask mandate, predicts what we can expect on the COVID front in the next year, comments on the problems communicating with the Biden Administration about COVID related issues, describes the difference between how the Trump and Biden Administrations have managed the COVID pandemic, and weighs in on the Officer Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis.
Despite criticism from some quarters due to a high number of COVID cases being reported, Governor Sununu unabashedly defends his decision to lift New Hampshire’s mask mandate.
“A million shots of vaccine in the arms have gone out, our fatality rate is down 95% from what it was just a couple of months ago, so all of this shows that we are on the down-side of the spring surge. Those who are most vulnerable to fatality and to severe symptoms have been able to protect themselves.”
The decision to relax COVID restrictions is data driven. The Governor points out that by early May, 97% of New Hampshire residents who want a vaccination will have received at least one injection and hospitalizations due to COVID will be at a very manageable level.
In addition, now that healthcare workers have been vaccinated, the Governor is certain that a potential workforce crisis at hospitals has been eliminated. Even if there is an increase in COVID cases, hospitals will be able to do their normal procedures.
Unfortunately, Governor Sununu expects that COVID will still be a part of our lives in the next year or so. The Governor expects occasional upsurges of the disease among the unvaccinated population and with certain variants of the Coronavirus having an effect.
In the coming months, new vaccines will be approved and vaccinations for the under sixteen population will be made available. Governor Sununu is optimistic that as these tools come into use, we will become more flexible in dealing with COVID.
When he was asked about getting information about the pause in the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Governor Sununu complained about a lack of communication.
“Let me be blunt. Taking all politics aside, the one problem this administration really has, is communication. They are terrible communicators. The President doesn’t get on the phone with us. The Vice President doesn’t get on the phone. There has been very little communication from the top.”
The Governor went on to say that he and fellow governors, both Republicans and Democrats, are frustrated that the information that comes from the next tier of the administration, like Dr. Fauci, is lacking in explanation and depth.
When the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be made available next week, Governor Sununu is concerned that will be left with trying to reestablish confidence in the vaccine when the CDC and Dr. Fauci have never given an adequate explanation about why the vaccine was paused and why it is now Ok to be going to be put back into use.
Governor Sununu describes how the Biden Administrations has handled the pandemic differently by using more federal programs to distribute vaccines with direct allocations to pharmacies rather than working through the states. The Governor considers that the slowly cutting out of states, combined with the lack of communication will be a problem.
In the final segment of the interview, Governor Sununu assesses the effects of the trial of Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd. The Governor predicts that this case will have positive repercussions on law enforcement for years to come. The ongoing need for better communication, training, and an understanding of implicit bias must be addressed. The Governor maintains that there is no expectation of violence in response to the verdict in the Chauvin case in New Hampshire, but he is confident that state and local law enforcement will be prepared.