InDepthNH: Pandemic Is As Bad As It Has Ever Been
In case you missed it, Gary Rayno of InDepthNH reported that New Hampshire’s COVID rates are the worst they have ever been. The NH GOP has made public health and safety a partisan issue, and Sununu and Republican legislators have catered to the far-right extremists of their party by repeatedly pushing back on public health measures that would keep Granite Staters safe. Chris Sununu and Republican legislators’ costly failure to get us out of the pandemic and closer to economic recovery has hurt the Granite State, and as these shocking numbers show, it’s getting worse.
The state’s political climate has created some real health-care issues. An unruly mob shut down one Executive Council meeting when more than $20 million in federal money was on the council’s agenda to boost the state’s lagging vaccination programs.
The mob was eventually successful as the four Republicans on the Executive Council later voted to block accepting federal money as did the Republican members of the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee.
The situation in New Hampshire is the worst it has ever been during the pandemic with few if any mitigation measures in place at the state level unlike last winter.
The first of December, New Hampshire had the highest infection rate per 100,000 residents in the country and the contagious Omicron variant was responsible for only a small percentage of the infections, but that is changing.
New Hampshire is not in a good position going into the heart of winter. Politics has to bear a good part of the blame for what awaits the state.There is no statewide mask mandate, schools and businesses are on their own if they decide to impose one. And those school boards and selectmen or city councils or business owners who do impose them are subject to organized bullying and social media trolling.
Last week the House debated a bill to allow representatives to be paid mileage for their trips to facilities outside Concord to hold sessions in larger safer environments than Representatives Hall provides. During that debate, Rep. Michael Sylvia, R-Belmont, opposed the bill saying it would continue efforts to address “a pandemic that has come to an end.”
House Speaker Sherman Packard had at home COVID-19 tests distributed to representatives to test themselves before returning the next day. During the next day’s session, it was revealed one Republican lawmaker tested positive, but came to the session anyway.
Republicans had earlier in the week voted down the latest attempt to allow at-risk members to participate remotely.