Thursday, May 13, 2021

Coronavirus Update 5-13-2021: Governor DeWine ends all Covid public health orders, and goes game show host to get more people vaccinated

Last evening, Governor DeWine held a statewide address to announce the availability of the Pfizer vaccine for Ohioans ages 12 - 15. That news was not shocking. The rest of what he had to say, however, was.

First, on June 2, all public health orders related to COVID-19 will end. That means the state will no longer require masks or social distancing. It does not mean, nor should anyone interpret it to mean, that businesses are not free to establish their own masks and social distancing rules, and I encourage all to do so until we reach herd immunity and/or the pandemic is declared "over." Right now, only 45 percent of Ohioans are fully vaccinated, and this number just seems too low to rip off the health-order bandaid. I'd feel much better about it if 75 percent of my fellow Ohioans were vaccinated, especially as we're still averaging nearly 1,400 cases per day (a number that isn't trending down). I hope businesses keep their own mask mandates in place for the time being, so that I don't have to worry about who's vaccinated and who's not while I'm grocery shopping.

Secondly, the governor put on his gameshow host hat and announced two different vaccine lotteries. For five consecutive weeks beginning in two weeks, Ohio will hold a drawing for a full paid, four-year scholarship for anyone ages 12 - 17, and $1 million in cash for any age 18 and up. The catch: you must be vaccinated to enter. Let's see how hesitant the vaccine-hesitant really are with a college education or $1 million on the line. (Also, this is quite the clever way to create a statewide database of the fully vaccinated.) Bravo to my governor for coming up with a very creative solution to incent as many people as possible to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.