Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) denounced the partisanship that has infiltrated the debate over face masks in the U.S., telling NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday: "This is not about politics. ... It's about helping other people."

Why it matters: Face masks have become a political symbol for some Americans in the brewing culture war over containing the coronavirus, AP reports. 76% of Democrats say they wear a mask when leaving home, compared to 59% of Republicans, according to a poll by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

What he's saying: "This is not about whether you're liberal or conservative," DeWine said. "Left or right. Republican, Democrat. ... It's been very clear what the studies have shown. You wear the mask, not to protect yourself so much as to protect others."

  • "This is one time when we truly are all in this together. What we do directly impacts others," he added.

Between the lines: DeWine, a Republican governor who has received praise for his aggressive early response to the coronavirus, has faced controversy himself over mandatory mask policy.

  • Earlier this month, he reversed a decision requiring face masks in Ohio stores, stating that it "became clear to [him] that that was just a bridge too far. People were not going to accept the government telling them what to do."
  • But DeWine maintained at the time that wearing masks while in public is the "kind thing" to do.

The big picture: While President Trump continues to refuse to wear a mask in public, his public health officials are urging Americans to do so as the country gathers to celebrate Memorial Day weekend.

  • Former Trump homeland security adviser Tom Bossert called it "common decency," while White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx said Americans "must wear a mask" when unable to socially distance outside.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 22, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Some 90,000 New York City children in pre-K and those with advanced disabilities went back to school for in-person classes on Monday.

The big picture: All other students in the city resumed classes online. Elementary schools are due to open on Sept. 29, with middle schools and high schools following on Oct. 1.

White House coronavirus reports contradict public statements by Trump officials

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senior Trump administration officials privately warned several states that spikes in coronavirus cases put them in high-risk "red zones" while publicly downplaying the threat of the virus, according to documents released by a special House committee overseeing the coronavirus response.

Why it matters: Democrats have long called for a national plan to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, while the White House has offered only guidance and insisted that states take the lead.

TikTok's content-moderation time bomb

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When the dust finally clears from the fight over TikTok, whoever winds up running the burgeoning short-video-sharing service is likely to face a world of trouble trying to manage speech on it.

Why it matters: Facebook’s story already shows us how much can go wrong when online platforms beloved by passionate young users turn into public squares.

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