One night down and two to go for Cleveland as host city for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Last night, the first round took place in primetime. The Draft always brings high interest from sports fans. But of the three nights, the first night is the biggest, and it draws non-sports fans too.
ESPN broadcasted the Draft from a temporary theater on Lake Erie at North Coast Harbor. The city was essentially center stage for several hours. The weather was less than perfect with rain and a foggy mist obscuring parts of the Cleveland skyline. But the crowds gathered to watch, both inside and outside the draft theater, seemed to enjoy the night's festivities, which included free concerts and fireworks.
The Draft is being watched by many beyond sports because it could be another indicator of how much "normal" we may get back this summer.
For the first time in a year, downtown and restaurants are buzzing and busy while hotels are close to capacity.
The pandemic cratered the restaurant, hospitality, and tourism portions of the economy. And, their bounce back relies on how willing people are to return to pre-pandemic behaviors.
Last winter, whether we could even get to the Draft seemed open for debate. Ohio, like the rest of the nation, saw a tremendous surge in COVID-19 cases.
Cases have leveled off since that big winter surge, and vaccines have helped drive those trends down, the governor says.
Over the last few weeks we saw cases and hospitalizations begin to rise again, but now those numbers appear to be leveling off too.
Ohio's statewide average for COVID-19 cases is down to just under 156 cases per 100,000. That's down from just under 186 cases per 100,000 a week ago.
Ohio's footprint in Congress will shrink beginning next year. The United States Census this week released the first data from its 2020 survey and confirmed that Ohio will lose a seat in the United States House of Representatives. Ohio will go from 16 members of Congress to 15. It will be its smallest delegation since 1833. The state's delegation has been shrinking since a high of 24 seats in 1973.
Lisa Ryan, health reporter, Ideastream
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV
Kabir Bhatia, reporter, WKSU