Opponents of Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf’s COVID Orders Present Case to Third Circuit Court

Before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia on Thursday, legal counsel for several Pennsylvania counties as well as numerous public officials and private companies, argued Governor Tom Wolf (D) abused his police powers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, the private-sector compainaints charge that the governor’s shutdown of and other demands on businesses during parts of 2020 and 2021 violate the takings clause and the due-process clause of the U.S. Constitution. All plaintiffs, governmental and private, further insist that the governor’s restrictions on public gatherings over the past year violated the rights of assembly, association and religion secured by the First Amendment. 

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Catholic University Professor in Ohio Undertakes COVID Research Following Pro-Life Principles

A biology professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville has started a study to look at herd immunity, while ensuring that his research also upholds pro-life principles.

Part of Professor Kyle McKenna’s research into herd immunity involved the development of an antibodies test that “did not utilize any materials produced in cell lines derived from aborted fetal tissue,” he said.

“The Catholic Church has indicated the need for alternatives to the use of cell lines, derived from tissues of elective abortions, in vaccines and medical testing,” McKenna told The College Fix via email. “We saw the opportunity to provide an alternative by creating a test for evaluating antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 that used no materials that were produced in cell lines derived from elective abortions,” McKenna said.

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Economy Added 559,000 Jobs in May, Below Expectations for Second Straight Month

Walmart Hiring Sign

The U.S. economy reported an increase of 559,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate declined to 5.8%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 559,000 in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, and the number of unemployed persons dropped to 9.3 million. Economists projected 671,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“We think it will take several months for frictions in the labor market to work themselves out,” Barclays chief U.S. economist Michael Gapen told the WSJ. “That just means we shouldn’t be expecting one to two million jobs every month. Instead, it will be a more gradual process.”

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Analysis: Deficit Will Top $3.6 Trillion in Fiscal Year 2021 as $7.27 Trillion of the National Debt Comes Due in the 2022

United States currency

The annual budget deficit has already hit $1.9 trillion and counting for the fiscal year that will end in September, according to the U.S. Treasury’s April statement, and it will reach as high as $3.6 trillion this year, says the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Comparatively, in 2020, the deficit totaled about $3.1 trillion for the entire year.

This comes amid the massive government spending in response to the Covid pandemic, including the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March 2020, the $900 billion phase four legislation in Dec. 2020 and then President Joe Biden’s additional $1.9 trillion Covid stimulus bill in March 2020. Another $2.1 trillion infrastructure plan is in the works. And now, Biden is offering his $6 trillion budget, which will blow another $1.8 trillion hole in the deficit in 2022.

As a result, 33 percent of marketable national debt, or about $7.27 trillion of the $22 trillion of publicly held debt, will be coming due within the next year, according to the latest data by the U.S. Treasury. For perspective, that’s more debt than existed as recently as 2003.

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DeWine Offers Taxpayer Money for Giveaways to Vaccinated Ohioans

In a state-wide address, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Wednesday that individuals who get vaccinated will be entered for a chance to win a drawing of $1 million — 5 different winners will be selected. 

DeWine noted that the money to be given away comes from federal Coronavirus Relief funds. 

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Commentary: The Left Will Not Let Go of COVID

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden

COVID’s grip on America is relaxing, not so the Left’s. The Left seized COVID as an unprecedented statist opportunity to advance their agenda. Unsurprisingly, they now resist relinquishing it. Since the Left refuse to let go of America, America must let go of the Left.

Last week the CDC relaxed its guidelines for outdoor mask-wearing by those fully vaccinated against COVID. It was more a rearguard action than a vanguard one, but at least it was a start. Several states are well ahead in their return to normalcy.

America’s virus statistics demonstrate the remission of the virus and validate accelerating relaxation of the lockdowns. On a seven-day moving average, active cases, daily new cases, and daily deaths have been plummeting since the beginning of the year.
On the ledger’s other side, vaccinations began in the U.S. in December, averaging over two million a day since February; as a result, around 31 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated at this writing.

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Fauci Admits Biden Administration is Flouting CDC Guidance in Border Facilities

White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci on Thursday conceded in a tense exchange with Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise that the Biden administration is violating major Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coronavirus guidelines by packing countless illegal immigrants into relatively small facilities without enforcing social distancing or masking measures. 

The CDC has aggressively pushed those guidelines over the past year, directing that Americans should work to remain six feet apart from each other in public spaces and wear face coverings when away from the home. 

Images from U.S. border facilities over the past several weeks, however, have shown little enforcement of those guidelines among illegal immigrants detained amid the current surge of unlawful migration at the southern border.

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Commentary: The American Jobs Plan and the China Conundrum

President Joe Biden’s new spending plan amps up rhetoric on national competition with China, maintaining the confrontational approach established by the previous administration. But whereas the 45th president championed what he called American energy dominance as a key element of grand strategy, the 46th seems bent on eschewing America’s natural resource advantages and playing to China’s strengths.

The White House fact sheet on the American Jobs Plan refers to China five times directly, claiming that the plan will “position the United States to out-compete China,” that China’s ambitions are one of “the great challenges of our time,” that the U.S. is “falling behind countries like China” on infrastructure, that “countries like China are investing aggressively in R&D,” and that the U.S. market share of plug-in electric vehicle (EV) sales is one-third of that in China — something President Biden “believes that must change.”

The president asserts that this plan will simultaneously reduce the risks posed by climate change and by China’s rise, but the evidence suggests his approach to energy will undermine the United States’ strategic positioning, not reinforce it.

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More Than 700 Kids Currently Detained in Border Patrol Custody, Report Shows

More than 700 migrant children are currently detained in Customs and Border Patrol facilities, according to an internal government report.

At least 200 children had been held in the facilities for over 48 hours and nine had been held more than 72 hours, according to an internal Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) report dated Feb. 21, Axios reported. The CBP is not allowed to hold children more than 72 hours, according to a previous agreement.

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FDA Panel Votes to Recommend Johnson & Johnson’s Coronavirus Vaccine for Emergency Authorization

The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory panel voted Friday evening to recommend Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency approval, clearing the way for its authorization, distribution and administration nationwide.

The vote followed hours of the panel live-streaming its process of scouring over data from the pharmaceutical company in order to reaffirm that the vaccine was safe for the millions of Americans who will receive it. The FDA also released the vaccine’s clinical trial data on Wednesday showing that the vaccine was effective in fighting the virus itself.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Orders Flags to be Lowered Until Friday at Sunset

  COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine ordered all United States and State of Ohio flags to be lowered Tuesday to half-staff on all buildings and public grounds throughout the state until sunset on Friday. The proclamation is in lockstep with the president of the United States who…

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Vaccinations Slow After Storms Delay Shipments of 6 Million COVID-19 Doses

The extreme cold weather across much of the country has delayed 6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, slowing a vaccination rate that has been steadily rising since the Biden administration took office last month.

The backlogged doses account for roughly three days’ of delayed shipments affecting all 50 states, due to road closures, snowed-in workers and power outages, said Andy Slavitt, senior adviser on the White House’s COVID-19 response, during a news conference Friday.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Lifts Curfew and Last Call Order

During his COVID briefing, Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine announced the statewide curfew – which had been amended to begin at 11:00 p.m. from its original 10 o’clock start – expired Thursday and that he would not extend the order.

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Johnson & Johnson Files for Emergency Authorization for Its Coronavirus Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson filed for emergency use authorization from the FDA on Thursday for its coronavirus vaccine.

The drug maker’s application followed its announcement that its vaccine was 72% effective in combating the virus. Although that’s slightly lower than Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, Johnson & Johnson’s requires one dose instead of two.

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Newt Gingrich Commentary: Small Business Will Continue to Suffer Unless We Reopen Society

Small businesses have been decimated by the pandemic shutdowns. Many have struggled to survive. Many have had to lay off employees. If they haven’t closed their doors yet, the next six to nine months will be a real challenge.

There is some help on the way. The Small Business Administration has released a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — a forgivable loan program designed to assist small businesses with money to stay afloat. Part two of the PPP opened on Jan. 15.

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Nearly 20 Percent of American Renters Are Behind on Payments, Analysis Shows

About 18% of renters, or roughly 10 million people, in the U.S. are behind on their monthly payments as of early January, according to an Urban Institute analysis.

Researchers Jim Parrott, a fellow at the Urban Institute, and Mark Zandi, the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, calculated that 18% of U.S. renters were behind on payments and warned that if lawmakers didn’t act fast, there could be a major eviction crisis. The average delinquent renter is four months behind on payments and owes $5,600, the researchers estimated using Bureau of Labor Statistics figures.

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Chinese Media: COVID Originated in U.S. Military Lab

A Chinese state broadcaster revived a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus pandemic originated in a US military lab, and told its millions of viewers  there is “something fishy” happening at Fort Detrick in Maryland.

A female anchor on China’s Central Television Station ​Thursday asked viewers: ​​”Exactly what fishy businesses were going on?​,” the Daily Mail reported.

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New Jobless Claims Decrease to 900,000, Economists Expected 925,000

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 900,000 last week as the economy continued to suffer the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) figure released Thursday represented a decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending Jan. 16, in which there were 965,000 new jobless claims reported. Roughly 16 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits, according to the BLS report Thursday.

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Governor DeWine Extends Ohio Curfew Indefinitely: The Way Out of This Is the Vaccine

Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday that the temporary curfew he imposed in Ohio the day before would be extended past Saturday, and he gave little indication when or if the curfew would be lifted at all.

Word of the extension came at the end of DeWine’s press briefing as a response to the first question asked by media.

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Biden to Extend Student Loan Payment Freeze Until September 2021

President-elect Joe Biden will order the Department of Education to extend the student loan payment moratorium through September in one of his first presidential moves.

Joe Biden is set to sign the executive order on Wednesday following his inauguration, extending the current pause on student loan payments, which has been in effect since March, according to CBS News. The order is a fulfillment of Biden’s campaign promise to prioritize the U.S. student loan debt crisis.

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Commentary: Five Ways Hospitals Can Help Fix Vaccine Rollout Debacle

Hospitals have come under sharp criticism for their part in the chaotic COVID-19 vaccine rollout. That’s because in the rush to get the vaccine out quickly, many hospitals were shipped more vaccine than anticipated and fewer staff took it than anticipated. As a result, hospitals accrued a vaccine surplus and offered it to their low-risk grad students and young administrative staff working from home and are now scrambling to figure out what to do with the rest. The answer should be simple: give it to older members of your community, but a recent letter from the American Hospital Association cited a number of important barriers to effective vaccine distribution including a lack of coordination and guidance from federal, state, and local governments. 

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U.S. Scientist Who Led Charge Against COVID Lab Leak Theory Admits He Was Trying to Protect Chinese Scientists

The U.S. scientist behind an effort to stymie debate surrounding the possibility that COVID-19 could have accidentally escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology admitted through a spokesman that he did so to protect Chinese scientists from online criticism.

Dr. Peter Daszak, the president of the New York-based EcoHealth Alliance, orchestrated a statement published in The Lancet medical journal in February, prior to any serious research on the origins of COVID-19, condemning “conspiracy theories” that suggest the virus doesn’t have a natural origin.

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Three Weeks After Christmas, Ohio COVID Hospitalizations Trend Down

January 15 marked three weeks since Christmas – two from New Year’s celebrations. Statewide hospitalizations have trended downward since Christmas and deaths more so, according to the Ohio COVID dashboard.

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Biden Taps Former FDA Head to Oversee Federal Vaccination Effort

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Dr. David Kessler, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration and a member of his coronavirus advisory board, to lead the nation’s vaccination effort, the transition team announced Friday.

Kessler, who will become the chief science officer of the COVID-19 response according to a press release from Biden’s transition website, led the FDA under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He will be responsible for ensuring that Biden’s vaccination plan — which calls for 100 million vaccinations in 100 days — is successful.

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U.K. Lockdown Could Last Nearly Three Months

Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the end of lockdown may be delayed beyond mid-February and would last until the end of March, telling MPs the government will be “extremely cautious” about lifting restrictions and reopening schools.

On Monday, Prime Minister Johnson plunged England into a third national coronavirus lockdown. The lockdown includes a strict stay at home orders and the closure of all schools.  Mr Johnson resisted calls from Tory MPs to guarantee the rules will start to be eased after the first review on February 15, the prime minister made it clear that a successful roll-out of the vaccine programme  to the most vulnerable will be key to determining when the lockdown measures can be lifted. Adding on a lag for achieving immunity after vaccination and relieving “the pressure on the NHS”, he then tacked on a further two or three weeks, saying “we should remain cautious of the timetable ahead”, Breitbart reported.

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Rollout Leaves More Than 70 Percent of COVID-19 Vaccines Unused

More than 70 percent of COVID-19 vaccines have gone unused, still sitting in freezers US health officials said on Monday.

In Daytona Beach, hundreds of senior citizens camped out in their vehicles in chilly overnight temperatures in the low 40s to secure a place in a vaccination line Tuesday morning, a day after seniors jammed the roads to the vaccination site,  NBC Miami reported.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Announces Health Dept Curfew Order Which Contains Several Exceptions

Today Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Stephanie McCloud signed the Director’s Second Amended Order that All Persons Stay at Home During Specified Hours Unless Engaged in Work or Essential Activity.

Sources inside the state government told The Star in November that the original curfew order came as a reaction to significant backlash from Ohioans as information leaked that Governor DeWine was going to push for another shutdown.
One source said, “people in the room when the decision was made agreed that a curfew wouldn’t do anything significant,” but would be an acceptable compromise the DeWine team would accept.

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Ohio Governor DeWine Rescinds Quarantine Guidance for Classrooms and Schools, Not Sports and Extracurriculars

During a COVID briefing on Wednesday Ohio Governor Mike DeWine rescinded the State of Ohio guidance suggesting students quarantine after being in close contact with other COVID-positive students in school and the classroom.

“Today we are changing our guidance,” said DeWine, who continued “I know that there’s been a great deal of pain – students not being able to do things because they are in quarantine. I fully understand that and I’m sorry that happened, but we had to follow the CDC guidance.”

The Governor said the decision was based on an evaluation of Ohio students, a CDC report involving students in Mississippi, and priority the Governor has given to teachers and staff to receive the COVID vaccine.

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Fewer COVID Patients in Hospitals, ICUs and on Vents in Almost Every Region in Ohio

  Governor DeWine or Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff spend a portion of press briefings discussing the issue of hospital capacity, often warning Ohioans that if cases continue to climb, hospitals around the state will be overrun and care for other non-COVID patients may be crowded out. Consequently, The…

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One-on-One with Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro

Last week The Ohio Star reported on the Ohio Education Association (OEA) Position Statement, which called for schools to suspend in-person learning immediately until January 11. The document outlined four steps the union urges government leaders and schools to follow – reset, restart, reprioritize and resource.
OEA President Scott DiMauro accepted the invitation to talk with The Star in a one-on-one interview.
The Star asked questions submitted from Ohioans around the Buckeye State.

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Governor Mike DeWine Warns Ohioans to Watch Hospital Capacity as Health Director Mulls Outpatient Treatments for COVID-19

During the Thursday COVID briefing, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said that he “took an oath to do everything to protect the lives and wellbeing of fellow Ohioans” and that the next three weeks will be the most critical in battling COVID.

DeWine then stressed the importance of Ohioans understanding and keeping an eye on hospital capacity in their respective communities.

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Commentary: Three Studies That Show Lockdowns Are Ineffective at Slowing COVID-19

Across America and Europe, many government officials are resuming lockdowns and tightening restrictions in the face of rising COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

The collateral damage of lockdowns, which has been well documented, includes widespread poverty, depression, bankruptcy, and unemployment. Meanwhile, the benefits of lockdowns remain murky.

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Only 23 Percent of Republican Voters Would Vote for Gov. DeWine in a Primary

A statewide survey conducted by the Strongsville, Ohio GOP asked respondents “If a qualified Republican ran against Governor DeWine in the Republican primary, for whom would you vote?”

Only 23.8% said they would vote for DeWine, while an unnamed “qualified Republican” would get 39.2% of the vote.  Thirty-six percent were not sure and 1% would support an “other” candidate.

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Michigan Restaurant Owner Loses Franchise with Big Boy for Breaking Pandemic Restrictions

The owner of a restaurant in Sandusky, Michigan, says it is being “forced to terminate” its contract with the Big Boy franchise over its decision to stay open despite pandemic restrictions. 

A recent order from the state of Michigan has closed indoor restaurant dining in the state from November 18 to December 8. It also closed in-person learning for college and high schools, movie theaters, bowling alleys and arcades. The order additionally cancels group fitness classes and organized sports. 

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Ohio Governor and Chief Medical Advisor Asked About Speeding Up Delivery of Therapies to COVID Patients

The Ohio Star reported that Ohio Governor Mike DeWine called a special press conference on Monday, November 23 alongside the Ohio Hospital Association leaders to address the state’s COVID hospitalization rise.

As reported, during the briefing doctors who lead each of Ohio’s three zones (the state is segmented into three areas) disclosed staffing shortages due to COVID quarantine orders, which had further depleted caregiving capacity already run thin by upticks in COVID hospital cases around the state.

The Star has received inquiries from readers describing their situations.  One woman told the story of her husband who was alerted that he had been exposed to COVID and within days began exhibiting symptoms. When he called his doctor seeking preventative therapies, he was denied.  The man was later admitted to a hospital for days, where he received therapeutic treatments that aided his recovery.

Consequently, The Star took the opportunity during Governor DeWine’s twice-weekly COVID presser on Tuesday to ask the following question:

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Ohio Governor DeWine Calls Special Presser to Talk State Hospital Capacity

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine called a special briefing Monday to update Ohioans on the record number of COVID hospital admissions statewide. He was joined by members of the Ohio Hospital Association – Robert Wyllie, Cleveland Clinic; Andrew Thomas, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center; Richard Lofgren, UC Health; Ronda Lehman, Mercy Health.

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Ohio Public Health Advisory System – Indicator Seven, ICU Occupancy

Sustained increase in ICU bed occupancy is the most relevant of the bunch comprising the Ohio Public Health Advisory System indicators because it measures overall ICU capacity and specifically looks at COVID patients in intensive care.

Ohio logged 2,092 COVID cases by onset date on October 15. One month later that number grew to 6,087 according to the Ohio COVID dashboard.  Despite the run-up in cases and a spike in hospitalizations – which have not correlated to a matching percentage of deaths (which continue to hold well below peaks from April) no county in Ohio has tripped indicator seven.

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New Model Will Reduce Medicare Part B Drugs Costs, Save Taxpayers $85 Billion Over Seven Years

President Donald Trump and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a new drug payment model Friday that will significantly lower the cost of Medicare Part B drugs, in a move the president said was a threat to “Big Pharma.”

Beginning in early January, the Most Favored Nation Model will test an innovative way for Medicare to no longer pay high-cost, physician-administered Medicare Part B drugs than the lowest price charged in similar countries.

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Gov. DeWine Congratulates Joe Biden on Winning 2020 Presidential Election Before Official Determination

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said Thursday “we need to consider the former vice president as the President-elect.”

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Four to Six Week Nationwide Lockdown Could Curb the Pandemic and Jumpstart the Economy, Biden Covid Advisor Says

Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to President-elect Joe Biden, said that a 4-6 week lockdown that shut down businesses and compensated workers for lost wages may curb the spread of the virus and get the economy on track until a vaccine is approved and distributed.

Osterholm, the director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told Yahoo Finance Wednesday that the strategy would help decrease daily case counts and hospitalizations until an effective vaccine arrives.

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DeWine Names New Chief Medical Officer, Director of Health Department

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced several new additions to the Ohio Department of Health on Twitter on Thursday, citing the pandemic as the reason for the new appointees.

DeWine named Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff as the Chief Medical Officer for the Ohio Department of Health. Vanderhoff had previously served as senior vice president and chief medical officer for OhioHealth, a healthcare outreach for the United Methodist Church, since December 2008.

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Ohio’s Undecided Voters Concerned About Race, COVID, Health Care and the Economy

Ohio has only twice swung in favor of a losing candidate during a presidential election – in 1944 and 1960. Otherwise, as Ohio goes so goes America.

According to The State of the Nation, a 50-state survey, Ohio voters are concerned about racism, the economy and healthcare.

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OHIO COIVD Report: Cases Up, Hospital Utilization Down

OHIO “REPORTED” COVID data for Monday, November 2, 2020:

Cases:  2,909

Hospitalizations: 182

ICU: 23

Deaths: 37

*Reported numbers reach as far back as the beginning of the pandemic (which the state officially recognizes as 1/2020, despite contact tracing data that indicate the virus was here in 11/2019). Example: the deaths number is likely double-to-triple the actual number of deaths today.

Hospital utilization, per the Ohio key metric hospitalization page, continues to drop – with the exception being ventilator usage which has plateaued.

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Deaths Are Low but DeWine Sounds the COVID Alarm

Governor Mike DeWine said on Tuesday that “all Ohioans should be alarmed” with the trajectory of the state’s COVID numbers.

DeWine reported 2,509 cases, 198 hospitalizations, 20 ICU visits and 22 deaths.

However, reported numbers are always higher than the actual numbers for the day – reported numbers can go as far back as the beginning of the epidemic.

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Lance Himes Email Riles Up Ohioans, Many Believe ODH Will Mandate COVID Vaccine

An email from Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes riled-up Ohioans. The email was sent Tuesday to prospective attendees of an ODH webinar on the state’s vaccine plan. 

In the email, Himes wrote, “It is important to note that the Ohio COVID-19 Vaccination Program strategy is a draft framework outlining how to implement mandatory requirements once more details of a vaccine are known.” 

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DeWine Hits Ohio Circuit Again – Proclaims Red Wave

With just 15 days remaining before the 2020 presidential election, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was delivering a stump speech on Monday – “there is a red tide going through Ohio.” However, DeWine wasn’t talking about, and stumping for, Republican President Donald J. Trump. Instead, he was campaigning for COVID.

DeWine was referring to the rising case numbers in rural areas and “just about everywhere,” in Ohio – which has led to counties throughout the state reaching code red on Ohio’s public health advisory system.

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