Today, a letter to the editor came to my inbox. I am not the editor nor do I play one on TV. Probably the correct move is to send this to the editor but it seems pretty straight forward so I’m going out on a limb to do this here. My belief is the content has merit and hopefully, you will agree too:
COVID-19 shuttered all “nonessential” businesses in NH a month ago. Initially, we were told this was necessary to prevent the viral spread and 2.2 million deaths nationwide. We were advised that our healthcare system could be overwhelmed if this was not done. Since the shutdown of economic intercourse, the national death toll model has been revised from 2.2 million to 100,000.
In New Hampshire, we have seen concentrations of illness in our southern tier counties and in western Grafton County. As of April 16, there have been two COVID cases in Coos County and 8 in Sullivan County. Other more central counties, and Cheshire County, have infection cases numbering in the 20’s. Belknap County has had 24 cases.
NH citizens have become adept regarding necessary hygienic practices. We socially distance, hand wash, surface disinfecting, etc., as part of our routine now, which anyone can witness at a local market.
Given COVID-19’s morbidity which targets the elderly, obese, and those with immune system compromise or other chronic malady, citizens in those risk groups need to self-quarantine to minimize exposure. Those citizens need to understand that they are taking a risk if they fail to do so, as they are vulnerable to the virus.
We now know a great deal more about this disease than we did even two weeks ago. We know testing has logarithmically improved, that several ameliorative therapies are available and are saving people’s lives, and what hygienic practices we are supposed to adhere to.
Over the past month of shut down, NH businesses have absorbed a cataclysmic hit through no fault of their own. Our state tax revenue stream has been more than decimated due to lighter traffic, crashed rooms and meals tax receipts, along with other revenue streams now reduced to a trickle.
Based upon the realities of COVID-19, the facts about how it spreads, and who is most vulnerable to its predation, along with our nation’s efforts to ameliorate and mitigate its impact, the undersigned request the Governor and his executive officers collaborate on a plan to reopen our economy quickly by amending the current Executive Order which shuttered our economy in mid-March.
Such an amended order could warn the vulnerable to continue the most efficacious safety practices, restrict access to those populations in Nursing Homes, etc. It should otherwise permit businesses to reopen, for those businesses are arbitrarily mischaracterized as “nonessential” when they are vital to our recovery as the commercial life’s blood of our citizens.
We suggest that the least populated counties reopen first and soon, as they appear to already fit the requirements for reopening that CV Response Coordinator Deborah Birx outlined on April 16th, however that is up to the Executive branch of our state government. Clearly, the continued restriction of commerce in our state is unsustainable. As we are aware of the necessary hygienic practices, and who the disease attacks, the Governor needs to think creatively and open commerce sooner, rather than later.
Very respectfully, Charles Gallagher, Gilford; Jean Ferreira, Gilford; Charles Bradley, Laconia; Marc Abear, Meredith