Jan 3, 2022 - COVID

COVID rages in Ohio as pandemic enters third year

Blue COVID cell sitting on confetti and wearing a Happy New Year hat.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ohio is once again in alarming shape as the pandemic enters its third calendar year.

  • We've recently set records for new cases and ended the year with the highest per-capita COVID hospitalization rate in the country.

Flashback: At the pandemic's outset in 2020, former state health director Amy Acton warned of potentially recording 10,000 cases per day.

The latest: More Ohioans were hospitalized (5,596) with COVID on New Year's Eve 2021 than ever before.

  • Nearly all are unvaccinated, per state data.
  • This led Gov. Mike DeWine to deploy members of the Ohio National Guard to various hospitals in Columbus, Cleveland and elsewhere.

Yes, but: There remains little interest among local and state leaders to beef up public health mandates.

Of note: The surge has exacerbated staffing woes, with COTA announcing reduced service beginning today due to a driver shortage, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

  • Alissa tried to donate blood last week after hearing there was a critical need, but a Red Cross donation center canceled her appointment because of inadequate staffing.

Here are some big picture questions for how the pandemic may impact Ohio in 2022:

💉 When will vaccines be available for children under 5 years old?

😷 Might Ohio leaders reinstate public health mandates, such as a statewide masking?

Other answers aren't so certain.

ğŸŽ† Will we see a full return of popular events like Red, White & Boom, the Arnold Sports Festival, the Pride parade or the Ohio State Fair?

💸 Can businesses stay on the road to recovery, or should we expect more economic mayhem?

ğŸŽ’ Can kids finally return to "normal" classrooms in the fall?

It's tough for us to predict how our state will fare. Even the public health experts don't know — but the current trajectory is not good.

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