There's good news on the coronavirus front and then there's not so good news. But since we've been inundated with the not so good news for so long, how about if I tell you about the good news and forget the news that's not so good. It should make you feel better. At least it did for me. Are you ready? Are you relaxed? Are you sitting down with a cup of hot coffee? Good!
As of this writing, according to the Internet and news media respectively, Ohio's 44319 zip code area (the Portage Lakes) has no confirmed coronavirus cases and, the state of Ohio could have taken the brunt of the coronavirus force if it had only sat back on its hands and done nothing.
Early on, however, after the first coronavirus hit the Buckeye state in February, Gov. Mike DeWine immediately took matters into his own hands by looking out for the future of this great state. DeWine did this by closing the schools before the first COVID-19 cases in Ohio were ever announced on March 9. He was the first United States governor to order all the state schools closed.
DeWine continued by closing all non-essential businesses. He first stopped us from meeting in groups of 20 or more, including churches, and he initiated home lock downs. He asked us not to leave the house unless for emergencies such as groceries or medical supplies. He promoted wearing face masks and gloves, touching elbows instead of shaking hands, washing hands with hot water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds and eventually he encouraged us to practice social distancing (staying a minimum of six feet away from others), a term I had never heard before but am now fully aware of its meaning.
Believing strongly in communicating, he kept in touch with his constituents whom he recognized from the very start to be their voice. For millions across the state and elsewhere, his news conferences took on a more glowing aura of a continuous afternoon soap opera or a daily Oprah show when she was in her prime.
DeWine used the power of the governor's office to implement sweeping emergency changes when he shut down sporting events such as the NCAA college basketball tournament, also known as March Madness to determine a national college basketball champion, all Cleveland Cavalier home basketball games, Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals football practices and all home opener baseball games, whether they were major league or minor.
To also help slow the spread of this deadly virus, DeWine even postponed the super Tuesday presidential primary election originally scheduled for March 17. This primary election, originally one of four scheduled that day, had been promoted as Super Tuesday 2, and has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 28.
According to various Ohio news sources, only voters who were eligible to vote March 17 may cast an absentee ballot. All Ohioans shall be notified of this rescheduled voting process and told how to cast their ballots. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose will be notifying voters by U.S. Mail. There will be no voting in person at any of the polls for this primary election. Exceptions, though, are being made in certain cases for disabled voters and those who have no access to the U.S. postal system.
Mike DeWine is being lauded across the country, and not just by republican politicians. So much of that praise comes from medical experts who have understood the threat of this virus from the very first case in the state of Washington. They praise the governor for taking the bull by the horns early on, so to speak, promoting social distancing and closing down schools, to keeping in touch by giving us a ray of hope, regardless of its glow; something in which we can believe.
This column is not intended to spread false hope. Far from it. We're no where near finished with this ugly, nasty, pandemic and now is not the time for us to let down our guards. We must continue to maintain safe living practices, using the same precautions we've used over the past month or two. We're all in this together and we'll all get through it together.
Be patient. Be careful. Say a prayer if you feel that way.
But most of all, be prepared.
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