Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Says He Has COVID-19

DeWine was diagnosed by his physician and has taken a monoclonal antibody treatment.

click to enlarge Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine delivers the "State of the State" address on March 23, 2022. - photo: screenshot, The Ohio Channel
photo: screenshot, The Ohio Channel
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine delivers the "State of the State" address on March 23, 2022.

The coronavirus has finally caught up to Ohio's leader.

On April 15, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine shared through a press release that he has COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. He is in quarantine per "CDC COVID protocol," he said, though he did not indicate a start or anticipated end date for this.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently advises that those testing positive for COVID-19 or with COVID-19 symptoms should isolate themselves from others — especially from those who are immunocompromised — and avoid travel for at least five to 10 full days, depending on symptoms, severity or setting. People ending isolation should continue to wear a mask for five more days, the CDC says.

In the release, DeWine said that he had been "experiencing mild symptoms such as a runny nose, head ache, body aches, and a sore throat" and that he was diagnosed by his personal physician. DeWine has taken a monoclonal antibody treatment, which the CDC says could help a patient's immune system respond better to the coronavirus. The CDC and U.S. Food & Drug Administration have granted emergency use authorization for COVID-19 treatment, but full approval for several cocktails is on hold because they haven't held up against the highly transmissible Omicron variant and its even more infectious sub-variant, BA.2.

The Omicron variant became the dominant form of the still-evolving coronavirus in early December as it began spreading faster than its predecessors. The variant caused a major surge in hospitalizations during the winter months after people gathered maskless indoors for the holidays.

During a Jan. 12 briefing with reporters, Deborah Hayes, president and CEO of The Christ Hospital, said that Omicron changed the "rules" of the COVID-19 pandemic that has been ongoing since early 2020.

"One of the things about Omicron that is very different from all of the other variants of this COVID virus is that its transmissibility efficiency is at least twice what any of the other strains of this COVID virus has been," Hayes said. "It is a virus that spreads almost as, if not as, easily as measles. It's one of the most transmissible viruses in the history of the world."

After COVID-19 cases swelled in January and February — including in the Cincinnati area — the nation saw somewhat of a decline. But Omicron's BA.2 sub-variant has since pushed case numbers higher again.

According to CDC data, sub-variant BA.2 is now responsible for nearly 90% of all COVID-19 cases in the United States, The Hill reported on April 12.

Scientists have said that getting one of the three COVID-19 vaccination series available in the United States (Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson) greatly protects people from severe illness and likely hospitalization should they be exposed to the coronavirus, including its variants like Omicron and Delta. Adding a booster provides even more protection against serious health challenges or death, experts say. And though even vaccinated people can still contract COVID-19, they are much less likely to need hospitalization. Most hospitalized COVID patients are unvaccinated, medical staff say.

Ohio was one of the least-vaccinated states in the nation, the Ohio Capital Journal reported in March.

DeWine's wife Fran DeWine has tested negative. Both the governor and his wife both had been through a two-shot COVID vaccination series plus had received a booster shot.

There have been more than 987,000 COVID-19 deaths reported in the United States since the pandemic began in early 2020, according to data gathered by the New York Times. Ohio has seen more than 38,200 deaths, though experts largely agree that actual case numbers are larger than what is reported.

Residents can order free at-home COVID-19 tests through a partnership from the federal government and the United States Postal Service.

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