DeWine defends masks as fellow GOP governors lift mandates

DeWine defends masks as fellow GOP governors lift mandates
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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWineMike DeWineOhio GOP governor comes out against controversial state anti-vaccine bill Overnight Health Care: Biden says US donation of 500 million vaccines will 'supercharge' global virus fight | Moderna asks FDA to clear COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents FDA extends shelf life of J&J vaccine amid concern over expiring doses MORE (R) on Sunday defended his state’s continued mask mandate amid fellow Republican governors recently lifting pandemic-related restrictions in their own states.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mississippi Tate Reeves both rolled back all coronavirus restrictions last week, including mask mandates and allowing businesses to operate at full capacity. While appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” DeWine was asked by host Martha Raddatz if he thought they were making a mistake.

“Martha, I have a great deal of respect for my colleagues in Texas and Mississippi,” DeWine said. “But in Ohio, we can't give up the defense. We have found these masks work exceedingly well.”

“We've set a metric. We've put a goal out there when we got to 50 cases for 100,000 for every two weeks — that's what the epidemiologists that we consult with said — when we get down to that figure, we'll be able to take the health orders off but we're a ways from that,” he said.

Raddatz noted that DeWine has also faced pressure to lift his state's mask mandate and asked why he did not agree with the argument that “people will make up their own minds” as other conservative lawmakers have made when lifting pandemic restrictions.

"You know, when this started a year ago, no one had a clue how effective these masks were,” DeWine said. “We have seen it, we actually tested it in schools. You know, we've seen that even when kids are closer than six feet apart in a school when they're all wearing a mask virtually no spread in that school in that classroom.”

"So we've seen it throughout this last year, these masks, really, really work, and we're still at a fairly high level," DeWine added.

According to data from the CDC, Ohio has recorded over 976,000 coronavirus cases and more than 17,000 related deaths. Over 3 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered in the state with a more than 16 percent of the population receiving at least one dose of the vaccine.