Ohio governor warns state 'could become Florida'

Gov. Mike DeWine (R) warned on Sunday that Ohio “could become Florida” as COVID-19 cases surged to new highs in the state.

The governor told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that his state is at a “crucial stage” as Ohio is “headed in the wrong direction” toward Florida’s status as a U.S. epicenter of the pandemic.

“We are at the point where we could become Florida, you know,” DeWine said. “Where you look at our numbers today versus where Florida was a month ago, we have very similar numbers. So we're very, very concerned.”

“While we did a great job early on in Ohio, we're now headed in the wrong direction, and frankly, I'm very, very concerned about that,” he added. “So we're going to move ahead with more orders from us this week.”

“Meet the Press” moderator Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddPublic health expert: 50 percent effective coronavirus vaccine would be 'better than what we have now' Navarro 'confident' Trump executive actions 'will stand up' in court Karen Bass: 'I'm not a socialist, I'm not a communist' MORE pressed DeWine on why he hasn’t issued a mask mandate. 

“I don't think anybody in Ohio who's watched what I've done over the last four months doubts that, you know, I'll do what we need to do to protect Ohioans,” the governor responded. 

DeWine added that officials “certainly would not rule out” a statewide mandate.

The governor said that the spread is “not just about masks,” adding that gatherings in bars and churches and casual get-togethers are contributing to the spread. He emphasized that this means “it’s not all about orders.”

“Orders are important, but it's also about getting people to understand, ‘Hey, this is, this is very, very serious,’” DeWine said.

Ohio has confirmed a total of 73,822 cases and 9,513 hospitalizations throughout the pandemic, leading to 3,132 deaths, according to state data

The number of new cases identified in the state each day has been steadily rising since mid-June, reaching a single-day high of 1,679 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, according to New York Times data

Throughout July, Florida has seen large increases in confirmed coronavirus cases per day, reaching its highest single-day increase of 15,300 new COVID-19 cases on July 12. Overall, the state has confirmed 350,047 positive cases and 4,982 deaths.