So much for Ohio flattening out the coronavirus curve.
Mr. Mike DeWine moved aggressively to slow the spread of the virus by shutting down the economy and issuing home-home orders, but COVID-19 numbers have climbed again after DeWine began to open the state again.
There have been 9,779 new cases in the last two weeks, a 73 percent jump over the number in the two weeks before, according to the latest NBC News. And on Tuesday, another 13 deaths and 1,076 new cases were reported.
A total of 2,876 people have died from the coronavirus in Ohio out of 52,865 reported cases since the pandemic began, NBC News reports.
“People release their guard,”
Dr. Stephen Blatt, medical director of infectious diseases at TriHealth Hospitals in Cincinnati, agreed and noted that adolescents are increasingly becoming those infected.
“I don’t think we opened again too soon, our numbers were very good,” Blatt told NBC News. “The problem is that people don’t wear masks. You go out and everywhere you see they don’t wear masks. “
Ohio is hardly the only state that has seen a great jump in numbers. In particular, Arizona, Florida and Texas have reported an explosion of new cases. And nationally, there have been more than 2.7 million reported cases and nearly 130,000 deaths, the latest figures from NBC News show.
In other developments:
- The US economy clipped back 4.8 million of the 22 million plus jobs lost when the pandemic began while unemployment fell to 11.1 percent. President Donald Trump touted the June figures, but experts warned that there is still a large job shortage left and the latest coronavirus tensions could mean more pain on the horizon.
- It was full steam ahead of the Fourth of July celebration at the National Mall, complete with massive fireworks. But despite the health problems in Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, participants will not have to wear 300,000 face masks that will be made available to those who want them.
DeWine received bipartisan praise for deciding to secure his state long before President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on March 13. Both he and Dr. Amy Acton, the state’s former health director, was lionized to lead the state through the crisis.
So far, DeWine has given no indication that he intends to mandate masks such as Gov. Tom Wolf of the Pennsylvania neighborhood did on Tuesday and neither the governor nor his spokesman responded to an email seeking further comment on the subject at issue.
But during a news conference to announce guidelines for reopening Ohio schools this fall, DeWine took a pro-mask stance.
“Remember we wear masks to protect each other, often because people are sick, but show no symptoms,” the governor said. “Masks can be particularly useful and are highly recommended at any level during periods of increased risk and when physical distancing is difficult.”
While DeWine is the Republican, it is not clear that a worm-carrying directive would fly in a state where the GOP has a majority in the legislature and where conservative lawmakers opposed the governor’s move to curb coronavirus by closing the state.
Ohio State Rep. Tavia Galonski, a Democrat, said she wants DeWine to try.
“Sure, there would be people who would complain, but the same people had an Ohio that we could all be proud of before DeWine turned his tail and ran,” Galonski told NBC News. “I think Ohioians would have responded pretty well to an authoritative figure they could rely on to tell them to put on a mask.”
Blatt said he knows masks will be hard to sell with some in Ohio.
“I’m sure the governor is wrestling with it,” he said. “If there was any way to use masking it would be helpful.”
Acton resigned in June after Republicans in Ohio tried to limit their powers and protesters besieged their home, demanding an end to state measures to stay home. The governor said that Acton would continue to serve as its most important health adviser.
Not long after, the number of coronavirus cases began to increase again in Ohio.
Asked if there could be a connection between Acton’s departure and the increased goals, Blatt said no. “She was a calming influence,” the doctor said of Acton.
Ohio appeared to be on another path on May 1 when DeWine began lifting the state’s rules on residency and a month later, the numbers continued to be flat.
“We do not see any significant increase or recovery in a wave or peak in Ohio and it is fantastic,” said Mark Cameron, a researcher on infectious diseases and professor of medical school at Case Western Reserve University, Cincinnati Enquirer in a story published June 16. “What that might mean is that people still generally follow the guidelines.”
That is clearly no longer the case, Blatt said.
“Most of the new cases are young people and I think they just got sick of not going out and seeing their friends,” Blatt said. “I think they saw things getting better and just said, ‘OK, let’s go out. “We have to get the message that this is not over and that it will not be over in a while.”
The drive to get people to wear masks has recently been driven by Republicans who previously followed the president’s leadership, which has rarely worn one in public.
Trump, in an interview Wednesday, said he is “all for masks” but does not think they should be mandatory for people in public places. Pence echoed that Thursday, saying “I don’t think a national mandate is needed.”
Florida Scott, Scott Scott, a Republican and a Trump ally, used similar language Thursday in a Fox News interview.
“Look, you’re wearing a mask, you’re social distance,” Scott said. “But should governments authorize these things? No.”
But Florida, where convention governing Ron DeSantis has been criticized for responding too slowly to the crisis and for opening too early, reported 6,563 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday and 145 deaths, according to NBC News.
There have been 76,278 new cases reported in Florida in just the past two weeks, according to NBC News figures, forcing DeSantis to turn off the bars to slow the spread of the virus.