Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday that though New Hampshire is doing well now, he thinks the state's coronavirus numbers "are going to rise" this fall.
"I think the numbers are going to rise," he said in response to a question about the growing number of cities and towns adopting face mask mandates. "I think November we're going to see an increase in COVID... My sense is a lot of these towns are trying to be cautious for the future."
Sununu said it's hard to say for sure when the state will be able to return to some sense of normalcy, but he expects that a vaccine will be available in late 2020 or early 2021.
"It will take time to roll out," he said. "While doing that, we still need a lot of precautions in place. It's not like January 1st we're going to have a lot of people line up and get a shot and COVID is going to be over. It's still only early September. We likely have four, six, eight, nine months -- maybe a year -- before we get back to being comfortable, to a new normal."
But Sununu said he thinks that when the calendar flips to 2021, there is going to be "a giant national mentality" of moving forward.
"I think the economy's going to be really strong in 2021, and I think New Hampshire is really prepared to be the gold standard," he said. "We're going to have a lot of challenges, but we are really setting ourselves up to be successful."
"But we've got to get there. You've got to play all 60 minutes. The game isn't over until the game is over. I don't know exactly when the game will be over. You've got to see it through. We've been so successful this summer, there's no reason we can't continue that success into the fall."
More on the Coronavirus in New Hampshire
New Hampshire reported 41 new confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday and no new deaths. There have now been 432 confirmed deaths and 7,347 cases, according to the state's Department of Health and Human Services.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire decreased over the past two weeks, going from 22 new cases per day on Aug. 18 to 21 new cases per day on Sept. 1.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.