Ohio governor asks residents to wear masks

National/World

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WANE) — Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine has called for urgent action by all state residents to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

In a statewide address on Wednesday on the growing spread of the virus, the Republican governor said Ohio had now reached the most critical point in its battle against the coronavirus.

“If all of us do not take immediate action to slow this virus down, the tragedy that we see playing out on our television screens everyday in Texas, Florida and Arizona and California may well be our reality in just a matter of weeks,” DeWine said.

During the initial phase of the outbreak, DeWine acted early and decisively to ban spectators from a sports expo, shut down all schools before any other state, and put a stop to the presidential primary. 

Since then, he has backed away from a statewide mask mandate, faced a mutiny within his party over business closures, and juggled listening to both health experts and those who doubt them. 

His aggressive moves that won early praise have tilted toward messages of personal responsibility, following the direction of governors in Republican-leaning states who resisted wide crackdowns. 

But now that the virus is surging again in Ohio, DeWine is taking what he calls a “surgical, precise approach” by requiring masks in just the hardest-hit counties even as some states are issuing wider and stricter measures.

It’s a strategy that has encountered criticism from all sides: those who think that his edicts have gone too far and those who believe he’s backed down from protecting the public. 

Ohio isn’t a hot spot for the virus like Florida, Texas or Arizona. 

Still, it has seen a steady and troubling rise in cases. Last week, the state saw its highest number since the easing of the lockdown, with more than 1,500 confirmed cases in a single day. 

Three states once hard-hit by the coronavirus – New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — recently added Ohio to its travel advisory. 

It asks that people entering those states from Ohio, and 21 other states, quarantine for 14 days.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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