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Coronavirus in Ohio; Mike DeWine speech warns of critical time


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his wife, Fran, leave the State Room after giving an update on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic April 10 at the Ohio Statehouse. (Photo: Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch)

In a televised Wednesday address, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine warned the state about the threat of rising COVID-19 cases.

“Our state’s life is in danger,” DeWine said. He encouraged Ohioans in every county to wear a mask when in public.  

Though the governor did not implement a statewide mask mandate or roll back business reopenings, he said, some Ohioans have let their guard down.

“We are playing Russian roulette with our lives,” he said. 

Here are some warnings Gov. DeWine made during the speech:

“An invisible enemy”

“By controlling the spread of the virus early, we were able to responsibly re-open, and the Ohio economy has started coming back.  Ohio’s unemployment rate is coming down.  While in April, the revised rate was 17.6 percent, in May, the rate dropped to 13.7 percent. Further, our Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reports that for 10 straight weeks, applications for continued unemployment benefits have declined,” DeWine said.

He encouraged Ohioans to wear masks and said that the discussion about Ohio’s new health order is for another time.

“Clearly, the virus is spreading with a vengeance across many parts of Ohio and lurks, waiting to attack victims in all of our 88 counties,” DeWine said. “Tragically, in just four months, we have already lost 3,075 Ohioans to this dreaded disease — nearly the same number of Ohioans who died in the Vietnam War.”

“The virus is spreading with a vengeance”

The Ohio Department of Health reported Tuesday the total cases in the state is at 67,995. This is an increase of 1,142 after 66,853 cases were reported Sunday.

There were five new deaths from the virus reported Tuesday, increasing the state’s cumulative death toll to 3,069.

Hospitalizations increased by 134 on Tuesday, raising the total number of people hospitalized at one point to 9,049.

The number of COVID-19 patients currently occupying hospital beds reached 1,017 on Tuesday, according to Ohio Hospital Association estimates. That’s the first time that number has broken 1,000 since May 13.

There were 22 more people admitted to the intensive care units, making the total number 2,223.

“Ohio is now nearing our April and May peak of 1,110 hospital patients, with the Cincinnati and Dayton regions currently seeing more COVID-positive patients in the hospital than during any previous time during the pandemic and the Cleveland region nearing a similar point,” DeWine said.

“Weeks can be the difference between who lives and who dies in Ohio.”

“The enemy is here”

“We must act now! My friends this is not a drill. This certainly is not a hoax. This is not a dress rehearsal. It’s the real thing. The enemy is here — and Ohioans have simply come too far in this fight to cede ground now,” DeWine said. 

The governor noted the increase in cases is not rooted mainly in increased testing, adding that while testing has increased 87% across Ohio, the number of positive tests has risen nearly 200%.

DeWine implored Ohioans to take action now so that kids can go to school in the Fall, so that people may have a chance to play sports and so that Ohioans can continue to earn paychecks.

He said Ohioans, in every county, should wear a mask when they go out in public.

But masks are not enough, he said.

“We are playing Russian Roulette with our lives”

“Let’s be honest, all of us have started to let our guard down.  I know I have. We’re tired. We want to go back to the way things were. And that’s very, very understandable. But when we do, we are playing Russian Roulette with our lives and the lives of our neighbors,” DeWine said.

The governor said he had tough questions that we should all ask ourselves. DeWine asked if family reunions would be worth it your grandmother got COVID-19 and died.

“Good decisions will protect the economy and save lives.  Reckless ones will hurt and kill,” he said.

“Our state’s life is in danger”

“Our state’s life is in danger.  Early in this pandemic, Ohioans came together. You showed extraordinary kindness, care, compassion for your families, friends, neighbors, and strangers, alike,” DeWine said. 

DeWine called on all Ohioans to once again unite and said the virus is real.

He referenced Native Americans who created massive earthworks, pioneers who navigated along the Ohio River and African Americans and abolitionists who created the underground railroad.

“I truly believe that we will rise out of the great tragedy of this virus and all it has laid bare,” he said.

Read the full prepared text here. 

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