ICYMI: Health Officials Blast Chris Sununu For Siding With Trump On COVID-19 And Refusing To Implement Mask Mandate
“Sununu has not made the safety of New Hampshire residents his first priority.”
Yesterday, a group of former New Hampshire public health officials slammed GOP Gov. Chris Sununu for putting his commitment to being a “Trump guy through and through” above the health and safety of Granite Staters.
Sununu has followed Trump’s lead on COVID-19 – refusing to implement a universal mask mandate, even though widespread mask use could save tens of thousands of lives, and allowing the President to plan a potential superspreader rally in the state. While other large events consulted with the state health department, Sununu sidelined public health officials for the Trump event and allowed the campaign to move forward with zero social distancing guidelines or mask requirements.
Multiple health officials also criticized Sununu for continuing to support Trump, even though the President is leading efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If Trump gets his way, 89,000 Granite Staters could lose access to affordable health care in the midst of the worst public health crisis in American history. The officials also pointed out that without the ACA, a COVID-19 vaccine will be much more difficult to distribute.
A former chief epidemiologist at the NH Division of Public Health warned Sununu’s refusal to implement a universal mask mandate could lead to massive community spread, especially in colleges and at upcoming events.
Read more about Sununu’s decision to put his loyalty to Trump above the health of Granite Staters below:
New Hampshire Democratic Party officials criticized Gov. Chris Sununu at a Thursday press conference for his refusal to implement a statewide mask mandate, his support of President Donald Trump despite Trump’s efforts to seek repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and allowance of the Trump Campaign to set their own safety guidelines for a planned July rally in Portsmouth, which was cancelled.
These actions, they said, showed that Sununu has not made the safety of New Hampshire residents his first priority.
Joan Jacobs, a former New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services analyst, said that Sununu had broken previous protocol when NH DHHS did not coordinate setting health and safety guidelines with the Trump Campaign for its planned July rally in Portsmouth.
“For other large, in-person events, state health department officials were in contact with event organizers and helped to set guidelines,” Jacobs said. “For the Trump Rally, this wasn’t the case. A right-to-know request asking for all emails to state health department officials regarding the planned rally found no communication between the Trump Campaign and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.”
Multiple speakers came out against what they called a failure by Sununu to support Granite Staters who get healthcare coverage from the Affordable Care Act. Though in past statements Sununu has said he disagrees with the ACA, the state is participating in defense of the law in the nation’s highest court. The speakers’ critique cited Sununu’s continued political support of the president, who has led his party’s efforts to repeal the 2009 law.
Rich DiPentima, former Chief of Communicable Disease Epidemiology at the New Hampshire Division of Public Health, underlined the stress and consequences caused by the absence of a mask mandate in the state. He said that not having a mask rule had contributed to the high rate of death in long-term care facilities in the state. “Every long-term care death can be linked to community transmission,” he said, which could have been mitigated by required mask wearing in public.
Calling it “ridiculous,” DiPentima also criticized Sununu’s new mask rule for events with over 100 attendees. “The virus can’t count,” he said, “If we have groups of 95, 80, or even 70, we are going to have massive amounts of transmission.” He predicted that the influx of non-residents at Bike Week and the resumption of college classes would cause a spike in the state.