Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks about COVID-19 on Oct. 19 at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine visited Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland on Oct. 19 to discuss the importance of mask compliance with local media.

He noted the curve was flattened in early spring, but quickly rose in June and July.

“We asked people to wear a mask and ... at that time we saw a significant increase in the number of people wearing masks,” DeWine said. “We then, shortly after that, started seeing cases go down again.”

He said cases – and the positivity rate – have doubled in the last two-and-a-half weeks.

“We’ve seen a real significant spread throughout the state of Ohio – there’s red tide going all over Ohio,” DeWine said. “The spread is not so much in work places, it’s not so much in classrooms ... but it’s when people are just doing more casual things, getting together. It’s human nature, I think, when we’re with friends, we’re with family, to let our guard down, and that’s really what is happening.”

DeWine mentioned Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has preached the value of the mask and said “masks, when two people are wearing them, really (have) a great, great ability to cut the spread down.”

“So, I’m here today to say thank you for what you’ve done, please wear the masks,” DeWine said. “It will make all the difference in the world. How do I know that? I know it because we saw it in Ohio in July, in the summer, we literally saw a very significant decrease in the cases when mask compliance went up in our urban areas.”

He acknowledged cases are likely to rise when the temperature lowers.

“I understand people are sick of wearing masks, people are sick of distancing, they’re just sick of the whole thing,” DeWine said. “We can see the end of this.”

He said Ohio will be ready for the vaccine when it is available and that, when it comes, nursing home residents and first responders and medical personnel will receive it first.

“Wearing a mask, keeping distance, this is how we keep kids in school, this is how we keep kids playing sports, this is how we keep our colleges open,” DeWine said. “We keep our businesses open by doing this, because (the) huge surge upward that we’re to see is going to do nothing good for the economy, it’s going to slow things down, it’s going to bring about our schools having to go totally remote. ... We can keep this virus down, but we just all got to pull together.”

Ohio has had 188,005 total cases of COVID-19 and 5,149 total deaths, the Ohio Department of Health reported Oct. 21. Ohio set another record for newly reported COVID-19 cases Oct. 21, where cases increased by 2,366.

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