Coronavirus: The US governor who saw it coming early


As the coronavirus outbreak barrels throughout the US, states have scrambled to get ahead of its spread, often after weeks of inaction. But one governor imposed sweeping measures days before a single case had been reported in his state.

At the podium for Tuesday’s daily coronavirus press briefing, Republican Ohio Governor Mike DeWine provides the latest on the virus’s march through his state – 2,199 cases, 55 deaths, 585 hospitalisations.

His announcements are peppered with “thank yous” and mild “just-a-reminders”, encouraging continued social distancing. He holds printed notes, shuffling the papers occasionally, staring down at them frequently. He doesn’t speak in platitudes, but in detail, taking time to dictate every letter and character in the state’s coronavirus web address.

It’s a stark contrast from his New York counterpart Andrew Cuomo, whose own daily briefings have become a staple of the US coronavirus news cycle.

But while the lesser known Mr DeWine, 73, may lack the media attention of Mr Cuomo, he is drawing praise for his early moves against the virus, at a time when much of the US was still playing catch up.

On 5 March, after resistance from organisers, Mr DeWine got a court order to shut down much of the Arnold Sports Festival – an annual event featuring 20,000 athletes from 80 countries, around 60,000 spectators each day, and an expected $53m for Columbus, the state’s largest city.

The state had yet to report a single case.


For his job today, Mr DeWine has the benefit of experience. In his nearly 30-year political career, he has held almost every public officer on the way to governor, serving as county prosecutor, state attorney general, and in both the US House and Senate.


Best in Moderation

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