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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Not Mask-Free Yet: Docs Say Children, Their Parents, And Some Adults Should Continue To Wear Masks

Dr. Patty Manning-Courtney, Cincinnati Children's Hospital
Ohio Dept of Health
Dr. Patty Manning-Courtney, Cincinnati Children's Hospital

Ohio’s statewide pandemic health orders have expired. And while the mask mandate has also been lifted, doctors say there are people who should still be wearing masks. 

Dr. Patty Manning-Courtney with Cincinnati Children's Hospital says there are children there right now who are quite sick with COVID. And since kids 11 and under cannot be vaccinated, she says they should still wear masks, just as before. 

“When they are out in crowds, out in public, out in stores, out at events, they should be masked and we are of the belief that parents and family members should mask along with them. It’s just the only way to protect that population," Manning-Courtney says.

She and other doctors say kids, unvaccinated people, those who are older or have poor immune systems are still in danger of catching COVID and note there are new highly-contagious variants out there. More than 5.3 million Ohioans have received at least partial vaccines at this point but doctors say that rate needs to climb significantly before herd immunity could possibly be achieved.

Some Ohio politicians, including Republican Attorney General Dave Yost and Republican U.S. Senate candidateJosh Mandel, have posted video of themselves burning masks on social media. Manning-Courtney says she regrets that type of messaging and says Ohioans should be encouraged to wear masks if they are at risk of contracting COVID.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.