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Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio Tests Positive for Coronavirus

2020-08-06 23:10:04

A mild-mannered career politician, Mr. DeWine spent decades in public office — as a county prosecutor, state senator, congressman, lieutenant governor, U.S. senator and state attorney general — largely out of the national spotlight, until the pandemic turned him into something of a social media sensation.

His daily 2 p.m. press briefings, where he took on a professorial air, speaking alongside graphs and charts while wearing round glasses and colorful ties representing Ohio universities, spawned a fan club. The briefings, known as “Wine With DeWine,” inspired T-shirts and wine glasses with the motto “It’s 2 o’clock somewhere.”

But his approach also drew uproar from protesters who gathered outside the State Capitol and from members of his own party. Amid the stay-at-home order and business closures, Republicans accused his administration of “micromanaging” residents and pumping up coronavirus statistics to scare Ohioans.

On Thursday, a Republican state representative, Nino Vitale, used the moment to question the governor’s policies. “I thought masks worked?” he posted on Facebook, alongside a photo of Mr. DeWine wearing a face covering.

By Thursday afternoon, Mr. DeWine said he had received several “not so nice” text messages suggesting that mask wearing did not matter.

“Look, we know it does,” he said, speaking from the porch of his home in Cedarville, Ohio. “If people take that lesson from the fact that I apparently have it, that would be the wrong lesson.”

In addition to being in a higher-risk age group, Mr. DeWine has had asthma since he was a teenager. As he and his wife, Fran, waited for further test results, he said he planned to work from home and quarantine for 14 days. Ohio’s lieutenant governor, Jon Husted, was also tested for the virus on Thursday and received a negative result.


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