Ohio Governor Mike DeWine talked directly to Ohioans last evening as cases of the coronavirus and COVID-19 accelerate in the state.
DeWine struck a serious and at times somber tone as he asked Ohioans to do their part. The governor said that we are at "the most critical point" in the battle against the virus.
"If all of us do not take immediate action to slow this virus down, the tragedy that we see playing out on our television screens every day in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California may well be our reality in just a matter of weeks," he said.
DeWine talked of the 3,075 Ohioans lost to COVID-19 since the pandemic began and painted a picture of the situation as it currently stands: "Our hospitals are seeing more and more COVID patients. There are 1,027 of our fellow citizens in our hospitals tonight suffering from COVID, 316 are in intensive care,146 are on a ventilator. And many of those who have recovered now suffer from long-term, - and in some cases, permanent - health consequences, such as lung damage, kidney damage and other significant medical issues."
Many were surprised that the late afternoon address did not call for additional mandates or shutdowns. The governor said those discussions were for another time. Instead, DeWine implored Ohioans to wear masks every time they go out in public.
Statehouse News Bureau Chief Karen Kasler will discuss the governor's speech and the reaction to it.
Next up, wearing a mask in public has evolved from a strong recommendation to a mandate in Cuyahoga County and eleven other counties that have reached Level 3 on the state's new four-tier public health alert system.
We have discussed several times on The Sound of Ideas the medical case for wearing masks. Just last week, Dr. Raed Dweik, Chair of the the Cleveland Clinic Respiratory Institute, discussed the value of masks. Dr. Dweik says masks help prevent the spread of the virus by containing respiratory droplets. Those droplets can carry the coronavirus and infect surfaces and nearby people.
A growing number of retailers, including Walmart, Kohls and Best Busy, will soon require customers to wear masks.
We will talk with Frank Sullivan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of RPM International in Medina. He chairs the governor's Ohio Economic Business Recovery Advisory Board. The group of business leaders recently published an opinion piece stating that masks not only make medical sense, but economic sense . They can help prevent the virus from further damaging the economy.
Finally, ideastream's Arts and Culture team delivers an interview with another of the 2020 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners.
Eric Foner has dedicated much of his career to correcting the misconceptions and mistruths that have arisen around what he believes is one of our country's most misunderstood eras: the Reconstruction period. Foner, a professor emeritus of history at Columbia University, is this year's Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Lifetime Achievement award winner. Throughout July, we're featuring conversations with this year's winners of the Cleveland-based literary prize, which is given to writers who address racism and diversity through their work. Foner spoke with ideastream's Dan Polletta.
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV
Frank Sullivan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, RPM International Inc., Chair, Ohio Economic Business Recovery Advisory Board
Katharine Van Tassel, Visiting Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law