Republican governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, said Sunday that while his government has not enacted a nationwide mask regulation, implementation of this move is not ruling out as coronavirus cases continue to increase in the state.
"We're going the wrong way," Dewine said of Ohio's daily viral infections during an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday. However, DeWine pushed back that the recent increase in the number of confirmed Covid 19 cases in the state was solely due to the lack of a nationwide mask mandate.
"I don't think anyone in Ohio who has watched what I have done in the past four months will doubt that I will do what we need to do to protect the Ohioans," DeWine told Chuck Todd from NBC, adding that he "would certainly not rule out going nationwide. We’re definitely looking at that."
Earlier this month, Ohio reported more than 1,000 cases a day, although it has been declining in recent days. Only 524 cases were reported on Friday. Since the Ohio pandemic, more than 9,500 people have been hospitalized and at least 3,174 residents have died from the virus.
"We are very, very concerned," said DeWine, adding, however, that protecting the public is not just about issuing mask mandates. "It's not just about orders. Orders are important. But it's also about getting people to understand: & # 39; Hey, that's very, very serious," "he said.
"We are in a crucial phase. We have reached the point where we could become Florida," said DeWine. Florida reported more than 15,000 Covid-19 cases last Sunday, the highest daily total in a U.S. state since the pandemic began.
According to the state health ministry, Florida has a total of more than 350,000 cases. These values are higher than in several large countries with much larger populations like Italy and Spain. In total, there are over 3.7 million confirmed cases in the United States, and at least 140,294 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Rather than issuing a nationwide mask mandate, DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health issued an order earlier this month that all districts classified as Level 3 or 4 public health emergencies were cognizant of the extent and prevalence of Covid 19 cases require face coverings. Around 60% of the state is currently under a mask regulation, since the total number of cases of the state on Sunday exceeded 74,900.
Ohio, which had a gross domestic product of $ 698 billion in 2019 and is among the top 10 in the latest annual CNBC study "America & # 39; s Top States for Business", has introduced a nationwide housing arrangement that allows unnecessary business for almost were closed for six weeks. The state then launched a gradual reopening plan on May 1 that allowed healthcare facilities to resume delivery of medical services that did not require overnight stays.
Production, retail, dining, and personal services such as salons were gradually opened in May, limiting capacity and policies related to security and social distance. Although most companies in Ohio have been reopened, the state has not yet approved the resumption of K-12 schools and has also closed entertainment, sports stadiums and areas, and certain recreational sports for the time being.
"When we reopened, we were one of the first states to introduce a very sophisticated reopening policy," said DeWine. Ohio's response to the pandemic was not without controversy. The demonstrators gathered several times at the Columbus statehouse to oppose Ohio's instructions. Hundreds gathered on Saturday to protest against current county-level mask mandates in Ohio.
To bring home the importance of wearing a mask, the DeWine government released an ad on Tuesday asking Ohio residents to wear masks whenever possible. The news, DeWine said, is that you are wearing the mask for other people. The governor added that it is important to get people to shop and understand why wearing a mask is important.
"If a 20-year-old understands that he or she feels invulnerable, nothing will happen to them – but they may get it, they may not know they have it. They may go home and see their grandmother. They may get it it, she may die, "says DeWine. "This is the message we are trying to spread across the state of Ohio."
DeWine also said that states need additional funds to help with the public health crisis, especially money for testing. The governor of Ohio's comments come as the White House tries to block funding for testing and tracing contacts in negotiations on the recent Congress relief law. The Senate Republican is pushing for a rare breach with the government against the White House, trying to maintain funding for tests in the bill.
"We will continue to need money to test," DeWine said, adding that while Ohio has doubled the tests in the past five weeks, the state has yet to "double" that rate.
"We can only do that with federal government funds," he said. "And it has to take a long time – we won't be away from it in a month, two months or three months."
Though the White House is trying to block more money for testing, DeWine said he has confidence in the Trump administration, pointing out that the governors are on the phone with Vice President Mike Pence every week.
"Every time I asked:" Look, we need something. We have to try to get more reagents. We have to get the FDA moving "- every time I ask the President or the Vice President got, they got through. "
"What this government has made available to us and Congress, and we thank both of them, is the money," said DeWine.