Is Ohio close to reopening economy? What will it look like?

Posted at 9:53 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 22:30:59-04

Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.

CINCINNATI - Next week Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his team say they will begin announcing some of the ideas to reopen Ohio. But first things first, says a University of Cincinnati economist.

First they need to agree on how to keep the virus in check.

"It's a risk and you don't want to be seen as doing it too early," says Dr. Michael Jones.

While we're anxious for summer theme park trips, Reds games, restaurants or shopping to resume, those will not be the first businesses open, Jones says.

"In the fall, let's say college football is going to open up and we can have people in the stadiums again. I don't think you're going to have full stadiums. I don't think normalcy is going to happen in the next couple of months because people are so scared that that next wave is going to come any time," says Jones.

"Time is the wrong way of thinking about it. It needs to be based on conditions."

Specifically, testing conditions - tests that are available to businesses with fast and accurate results.

"If we had a test tomorrow with those three things, we could start immediately," Jones says.

If that level of testing doesn't exist by the end of May, Jones says the question will be: Can we open up very critical sectors of the economy?

It could be food distribution or certain manufacturing plants.

The country is watching DeWine and his team because they have led the way on the COVID-19 response.

"We're going to do it in an intelligent way that will enable us to get out of it, but also we're going to do everything we can so that we don't have a respite," DeWine says.

Escaping this dilemma could be a Catch 22.

"My guess is what they'll do is they'll open this up for two weeks and at the end they'll monitor and see: 'Did we have a flare up?'

"if they didn't, then we'll open up more sectors."

To keep people home, economists say you have to set aside more money to pay them. Congress is considering more stimulus money for businesses to keep people on the payroll.

Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:


  • Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
  • See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.


  • State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
  • See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.


  • SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail
  • See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.

What is coronavirus, COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.

What are the symptoms? How does it spread?

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.

The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.

Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.

The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.