On Sunday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with host Chuck Todd to discuss COVID-related mask mandates.
Todd first asked DeWine about the differing mandates throughout the state of Ohio.
“Governor, you’ve got 60% of your state under a mask ordinance, but if somebody drives along the Ohio Turnpike and you pull off, you may not know what county you’re in and whether there’s a county ordinance,” Todd stated before asking the governor if a statewide mandate would be easier.
DeWine replied, first saying that Ohio has done well to flatten the initial curve; he also praised the state’s “very sophisticated” reopening policy.
“As far as customers now coming in, as you pointed out, we’re at 60%. Frankly, we’ve seen that go up as our counties have turned red,” DeWine said. “We’re going the wrong way. We’re at a crucial time. And so this week, you may see a lot more counties under that mask requirement. So we certainly would not rule out going statewide. We’re certainly looking at that.”
The governor continued, noting that the state is running commercials on TV pertaining to mask-wearing, one of which is expected to launch this week.
DeWine elaborated on “the message” Ohio is trying to send to its residents:
The orders are obviously important – but getting people to buy in and to understand, getting a 20-year-old to understand that he or she may, you know, feel invulnerable, nothing’s going to happen to them. But they may get it, they may not know they have it; they may go home and see their grandmother; she may get it; she may end up dying.
Todd pushed back, wondering if the state’s mask advice is “diluted” if masks aren’t mandated across the board. The host then asked DeWine if anti-mask protests and “criticism from the Right” are creating pressure to “keep you from issuing this statewide order?”
The governor responded, saying: “I don’t think anybody in Ohio who’s watched what I’ve done over the last four months doubts that, you know, I’ll do what we need to do to protect Ohioans.”
DeWine added that during a speech on Wednesday, he stated that Ohio was “at a crucial stage,” and that they are potentially in a position to end up like Florida. He continued, telling Todd that it’s “not just about masks though.”
It’s occurring in bars; it’s occurring in churches; it’s occurring from people who have traveled out of state,” DeWine said. “But a lot of it, frankly, is just people in casual settings, 20, 30, 40, 50 people gathering together – and so it’s not all about orders. Orders are important. But it’s also about getting people to understand, “Hey, this is very, very serious. And now, while we did a great job early on in Ohio, we are now headed in the wrong direction.” And frankly, I’m very, very concerned about that.
After a back-and-forth in which Todd asked DeWine about his rating of federal leadership on the pandemic, DeWine noted how different the United States is as it pertains to mask-wearing.
“Fran and I were on a trade mission to Japan a few months ago, and a lot of people wore masks. It’s more of the culture. In this country, we don’t have the culture to do that. And so what we have to do is so people understand it’s not just about them, that when they walk into a store, it’s important for them to wear that mask for somebody else. That’s why we run the ads,” DeWine said Before admonishing Ohioans to “please be careful.”
According to the Ohio Department of Health, the state has seen more than 74,900 total COVID-19 cases, and approximately 3,174 deaths as of publication.
The COVID-19 case count in Ohio was on a moderate decline from late-April to mid-June. Since then, there has been a steady rise in cases. Hospitalizations have also been on the rise since shortly after the rise in cases began. Deaths, however, appear to have moved slightly downward since mid-June.
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