Joining a growing and bipartisan list of governors, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said Sunday that he will not bring back lockdowns and mask mandates as cases of COVID-19 once again rise.
“We are seeing the virus go up,” DeWine told CNN‘s Jake Tapper. “We think the Delta variant is certainly the dominant one in Ohio yet, but the whole game today is vaccinations, and we have room to grow. We think that we can get more people vaccinated.”
DeWine said the state saw a huge jump in vaccines administered last week, particularly among rural Ohioans and those on Medicaid.
“I’ll tell you what we have done,” DeWine said when directly asked about reimplementing COVID-19 restrictions. “We recommend – a strong recommendation to our schools that they [implement mask mandates]. Now, some will do that, some will not. But it’s clear the evidence shows that that’s a way to really slow down spread in the schools.”
But he joins a growing list of governors who will not levy any more mandates, choosing instead to make recommendations.
As The Virginia Star reported last week, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) had essentially the same message for his constituents. He encouraged taking precautions and getting vaccinated but said there will be no more mandates.
“All Virginians should consider wearing a mask in public indoor settings where there is increased risk of [COVID-19] transmission, as the new [CDC] guidance recommends. This is not a requirement, but a recommendation,” he said.
“We know the vaccines work—since January, over 98% of [COVID-19] hospitalizations and deaths have been among unvaccinated Virginians,” he continued. “But we are now seeing a rise in cases due to the Delta variant [the Virginia Department of Health] reported more than 1,110 new cases today, up from less than 200 a month ago.”
On the same day, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) also had similar messaging.
“Georgia will not lock down or impose statewide mask mandates,” Kemp said, as reported by The Georgia Star News. “As the first state in the country to reopen over a year ago, we’ve proven that Georgians know how to come together and protect themselves and their loved ones.”
He, too, encouraged residents to get vaccinated.
“The data is clear. Thanks to efforts initiated under the Trump Administration, we have a medical miracle in multiple vaccines that protect from the virus and save lives. Nearly all new COVID hospitalizations in Georgia are among the unvaccinated,” Kemp continued. “My family, myself, and other state leaders have all rolled up their sleeves and gotten their shot. I encourage all Georgians who have concerns or questions to talk to a medical provider and get vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
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