COLUMBUS – Students won’t be in classrooms next week. Prominent sports events from March Madness to the Masters have been canceled or postponed. Churches and synagogues are live streaming services.
Life as we know it has changed in America.
And it’s changed, in large part, because of Ohio.
The Midwestern state has been leading the nation’s response to COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
While President Donald Trump was slow to shut down public events, including the Republican’s own campaign rallies, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration imposed the nation’s most restrictive ban on large gatherings. He then closed all schools for at least three weeks.
DeWine, a Republican, made those decisions before anyone died of COVID-19 in Ohio and with just a handful of confirmed cases concentrated in the northeastern part of the state.
Those decisions earned DeWine the ire of sports fans, frustrated parents and those who claimed coronavirus was a media-manufactured crisis. But they earned him praise from unlikely sources, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper, who ran against DeWine for state attorney general in 2014.
“The approaches by DeWine and POTUS could not be more starkly different,” Pepper wrote on Twitter.
“This is certainly no ordinary time,” DeWine said Monday, when the state’s first three cases of coronavirus were confirmed. “It is important for us to take aggressive action to protect Ohioans. The actions that we take now will, in fact, save lives. That we are sure of.”