Ohio surpassed its previous COVID-19 case record by nearly 1,000 on Friday, according to the Ohio Department of Health. ODH reported 8,071 new diagnoses that afternoon, up from 7,101 the day before.
The state’s “curve,” which springtime shutdowns sought to flatten by closing businesses and schools, is now nearly vertical. The daily new-case record has been broken 16 times since Oct. 13, when the all-time daily high stood at 1,840.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday he had begun to consider shutting down restaurants, bars and gyms — places where Ohioans spend significant amounts of time unmasked — if the state’s numbers did not improve within the week.
The governor has resisted talk of repeating the more widespread shutdowns his administration used in the spring, characterizing them as a worst-case scenario and attempting instead to muster Ohioans’ consciences in the battle against the pandemic.
“What each Ohioan does in his or her own life impacts all of us,” he said Wednesday in his primetime address to the state. “It impacts every community. It impacts every school, every nursing home, every hospital, every business.”
DeWine exhorted Ohioans to wash their hands, practice social distancing with people outside their household and wear masks around people with whom they do not live.
Many of the new cases that have emerged since September are attributable to small gatherings of family and friends, including birthday parties, weddings, funerals and BBQs. DeWine said he would not act to stop any of these events, but he would continue to share facts with Ohioans in hope they will make safer decisions on their own.
ODH on Friday also reported 298 new hospitalizations, 21 patients newly admitted to intensive care and 42 new deaths.
Pandemic trends across the nation are nearly beat-for-beat the same as the ones in Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 194,610 new cases on Friday, the highest number ever.
Around 242,000 Americans have died since the beginning of the pandemic — enough to fill Great American Ball Park nearly six times over, and counting.