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Ohio Democratic Senator leaves hearing over lack of masks

Sen. Cecil Thomas
Posted at 3:29 PM, Feb 03, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio Democratic state senator said Wednesday he left a committee hearing because so many members of the public weren’t wearing masks.

Sen. Cecil Thomas, a second-term lawmaker from Cincinnati, tweeted a picture showing several people in the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee without masks.

“We are in the middle of a pandemic with a virus that is highly transmittable,” Thomas said in his tweet. “My daughter has a severely compromised immune system and I won’t sit there and put her health at risk.”

A message was left with committee chairperson Sen. Kristina Roegner, a Republican from Hudson in northeastern Ohio, seeking comment. Thomas’ tweet came as several lawmakers in the GOP-controlled House were in session without masks.

Mask wearing has been a partisan issue in state legislaturesnationally and in Ohio for months, with many Republicans declining to wear masks, while some Democrats have unsuccessfully pushed measures to require them in the General Assembly.

The 7-day rolling average of daily new coronavirus cases in Ohio did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 6,160 new cases per day on Jan. 19 to 4,260 new cases per day on Feb. 2.