New Hampshire’s Republican governor is calling on people to wear masks after the state’s House Speaker died of COVID-19

Chris Sununu
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu. Scott Eisen/Getty Images for DraftKings
  • New Hampshire Republican state Rep. and House Speaker Dick Hinch died of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

  • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has since criticized peoples’ decisions not to wear masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

  • “It has horrible consequences. That’s not speculation, that’s not supposition, that’s fact,” he said at a news conference.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Republican governor of New Hampshire is urging people to wear masks to stop the spread of COVID-19 after state Rep. and House Speaker Dick Hinch died from the virus.

Hinch, 71, was found dead in his home on December 9, one week after he accepted a nomination for New Hampshire’s speaker of the house at an outdoor swearing-in ceremony, an event that hundreds of people attended and many opted not to wear masks, The Washington Post reported.

At a press conference on Thursday, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu called Hinch’s death a “stark reminder” that “no one is immune.”

He also criticized criticized Republican legislators for not wearing masks during large gatherings.

“For those who are just out there doing the opposite just to make some ridiculous political point, it is horribly irresponsible. … It has horrible consequences. That’s not speculation, that’s not supposition, that’s fact,” Sununu said. “Please use your heads. Don’t act like a bunch of children, frankly.”

He called Hinch an “incredibly close friend” who would would be “very sorely missed.”

New Hampshire is currently seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, and the latest wave in cases has put strain on some hospitals, New Hampshire Public Radio reported.

Hinch and other GOP legislators faced criticism in November after he and about 50 others attended a mostly maskless indoor event on November 9, the Concord Monitor reported. Republican legislators gathered again weeks later on November 20, and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services determined that at least four people contracted COVID-19 at the event.

New Hampshire HSS officials are investigating how Hinch contracted COVID-19, the Union Leader reported.

Sununu’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for further comment.

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