COVID rages in Ohio as pandemic enters third year
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.
- Though skeptics scoffed at that prediction, Ohio recorded more than 20,000 cases in a 24-hour period multiple times last week.
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.
- In fact, two area school districts — Pickerington and New Albany — are removing mask mandates as students return to classes this month despite Ohio hospital officials penning a letter asking them to do the exact opposite.
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?
- Current estimates target the second quarter of 2022.
😷 Might Ohio leaders reinstate public health mandates, such as a statewide masking?
- Seems unlikely now that lawmakers have authority to vote down such orders.
Other answers aren't so certain.
🎆 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?
🎒 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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