Listen to the Medical Professionals on the Ground: Issue a Stay-at-Home Directive

Medical experts and medical professionals on the ground in New Hampshire agree that a Stay-at-Home directive is needed. It is needed to “flatten-the-curve” of the outbreak here in New Hampshire. It is needed to enable our health care system in New Hampshire — with limited testing, limited personal protective equipment, limited workforce, and limited ventilators — the ability to better withstand the COVID-19 outbreak. It is needed to protect our workers on the frontlines of this fight. It is needed to save lives.

As of March 24, 2020, nearly half of the States, with more than half of population, with both Republican and Democratic governors, have issued some form of a Stay-at-Home or a Shelter-in-Place directive, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and West Virginia. As of March 24, 2020, New Hampshire has not done so. And on March 24, 2020, eight days after CDC guidance on gatherings of 10 or more people, New Hampshire prohibited gatherings of 10 or more people.

Across New Hampshire, gyms are open, office buildings are open, beaches have crowds, and many are going about their lives as if nothing has changed. But everything has changed. And as many of our medical professionals have said, we need immediate proactive action to get ahead of the spread of this virus. A Stay-at-Home directive would involve short-term sacrifice, but the experts agree that the longer-term gain for our public health, for our frontline personnel, and our economy, far outweigh the short-term pain.

Let’s be clear: This would not mean the police are walking the street arresting individuals who leave their house. But, it would set clear expectations that non-essential workers need to be working from home, people cannot keep gathering at public locations, and this needs to be taken seriously.

This isn’t the “flu”. Community spread exists in New Hampshire, and this administration needs to listen — really and truly listen — to the medical experts and medical professionals on the ground in New Hampshire. A Stay-at-Home directive is critical and needs to be issued without further delay.

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Dan served as a legal aid lawyer helping low-income NH families, seniors and veterans for almost a decade. Now serves as the majority leader in the NH Senate.

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