The COVID question he won't touch: If you knew then what you know now

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Gov. Chris Sununu takes a selfie with a worker during a mass vaccination at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. (Courtesy photo)

After a year of contending with COVID, its spikes and wanes, the mass destruction of private sector business, the depression among huge number of Americans; cumbersome remote learning for our children at a time they most need socialization and self-conceptualization skills and the four trillion dollars our federal government has spent that we don't have, we thought it was time to ask the governor this question:

If you knew a new (COVID) variant with the same degree of morbidity and infection rate was on its way right now, do you believe you would be supportive of following the same path New Hampshire did in March 2020?

Here is the governor's response.

"Since the onset of this pandemic, we have looked to the data to inform our decisions and to protect our communities. New Hampshire has taken a balanced approach throughout, which is why we continue to have one of the strongest economies and lowest COVID fatality rates in the country. We continue to get doses into arms as quickly as possible, with all residents 16 and older now eligible, and have made great strides in vaccinating our most vulnerable populations. Our efforts continue to move us forward, with confidence that an economically successful summer is just around the corner."

We replied on April 7 by clarifying that he hadn't answered the question, and that if he didn't reply within a reasonable time we would take that as a "refused to comment" if left unanswered.

That was the end of the comment string, but here are some facts that pressed us to ask him the question in the first place.

As of March 29, there had been 1,233 New Hampshire deaths that were "related" to COVID.

Of those, 860 had been residents at elder care congregate facilities like nursing homes and assisted living residences representing a 1 percent death rate among total identified cases in the state.

Among those not living at elder care congregate facilities the death rate per total cases was .4 percent. Obviously the bulk of this latter demographic represents those that make up the American workforce.

Back in May the death rate in New Hampshire was represented on the state's CDC website as 5 percent, five times higher than what we know it is now in the longterm elder care facility population; and more than 10 times higher than what we know it is now among those not housed there.

In June the death rate reached its statistical zenith at 6 percent followed by reductions to 5 percent in August, 4 percent in November, 2 percent in December and 1 percent in late March where it remains, this all despite the large numbers of deaths that did occur in January.

Why? Because with more people being tested we realized that more and more

people didn't have it.

Remember early on during the pandemic, most of those who were tested were those who were either at high risk or presented symptoms.

So with a 1 percent death rate in elder care facilities and a .4 percent death rate among the rest of the population, is it a legitimate question to ask the governor, "If you knew then what you know now, would you do it the same?"

We think it is!

A UNH professor of political science told us they were not surprised that Gov. Sununu refused to answer the question saying those that hold public office rarely agree to answer hypothetical questions, because of the damage they can do politically, but we don't believe the question we asked the governor was hypothetical.

Merriam Webster defines hypothetical as "involving or based on a suggested idea or theory or hypothesis, not real, or imagined as an example."

Let's look at the question we asked again.

If you knew a new (COVID) variant with the same degree of morbidity and infection rate was on its way right now, do you believe you would be supportive of following the same path New Hampshire did in March 2020?

There's nothing hypothetical there.

It's called learning from history. And telling the people the truth.

Can government do that? Or, is it "too complicated."

We say, "Tell the people. We trust they'll be able to comprehend your answer."

- HT

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