Pardon the cliché, but Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine put on a master class during a 30-minute stop at Tri-State Airport Monday to talk about the COVID-19 situation in southeast Ohio.
DeWine said he is visiting media markets out of state that have penetration into Ohio — Huntington and Wheeling in West Virginia and Fort Wayne in Indiana — to get the message out that rural areas of Ohio are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases the same as urban areas are.
“No place is spared now,” DeWine said.
And he is encouraging people take preventative measures until vaccines are available.
Last week DeWine announced he would send inspectors to retail stores in Ohio to ensure both workers and customers are wearing masks. Today he expects to announce more measures to allow people to continue to work, to keep children in school and to protect elderly people in nursing homes.
On the individual level, he’s asking people to wear masks and reduce personal contacts. He acknowledges that Thanksgiving will be different this year if people limit the size of indoor gatherings. On the other hand, he’s not ready to limit wedding receptions, funerals or church services, but he is asking people to be careful.
“There’s an inherent danger of people gathering inside,” he said.
The good news in the fight against COVID-19 is that a second company says it has a vaccine that could be ready soon. Moderna Inc. has announced it could have a vaccine ready for use before the end of December, assuming it is cleared by federal health authorities. That’s the same timetable the Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE have set for their vaccine. Neither would be ready for widespread public use. The limited supply of the first doses means they would have to be rationed for use by people who need them most.
As DeWine said, “The end is in sight.”
Until we have a vaccine in widespread use, people need to do what they can. Dr. Michael Canaday, CEO of Holzer Medical System, also spoke at DeWine’s stop in this area.
“I urge everyone, wear the mask everywhere. It’s the only thing we really have right now until the vaccine comes out,” he said.
It was good to see DeWine out and about explaining what the state of Ohio is doing to react to the increasing spread of the virus and what steps are being taken to attempt to contain it. There was really little that was new in what he said, but the fact he is delivering it personally gives it more impact.
Some of us carry COVID-19 unknowingly, and we can spread it unknowingly. As both DeWine and Canaday said, until the vaccine becomes widely available, we have to rely on each other to limit the spread of this disease.