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This U.S. State is Beating Coronavirus and Here's Its Secret

This Midwestern state seems to be doing everything right.
Cleveland, Ohio, USA downtown skyline on the river.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, each state has taken its own, unique approach to how they handle it. Some have been more conservative than others, shutting down their schools and business on the earlier side and reopening slowly. Others started the reopening process as soon as possible, in an attempt to return to normality and improve the economy of their state. Researchers are thoroughly examining the impact of each state's methods compared to their coronavirus statistics, in hopes of figuring out the secret to successfully battling the virus. For example, Texas, Arizona, and Florida—all which started reopening on the earlier side of things —are setting records with the number of new coronavirus cases. 

Ohio, on the other hand, has not. 

Success in the Midwest

The midwestern state started lifting their stay-at-home orders gradually over the last six weeks, and their tactics have been working. According to statistics, they have experienced a plateau in newly reported cases—with the average number of new cases per week dropping from 476 to 391 since May 1. The number of weekly cases for the week ending Monday was the lowest since the second week of April. Hospitalizations have also significantly declined, from 1,067 to 513. 

"We're not seeing any significant increase or reestablishment of a wave or a peak in Ohio and that's great," Mark Cameron, an infectious disease researcher and professor in the school of medicine at Case Western Reserve University, told USA Today

Cameron believes that one of the secrets to Ohio's success is that people are actually following the recommended coronavirus prevention methods as outlined by the CDC. "What that could mean is that people are still generally following the guidelines."

Three Possible Reasons for Success

USA Today has also hypothesized three reasons why Ohio hasn't had a surge in cases—that other states may be able to learn from. 

  1. Efficient Testing

Ohio is currently testing more people than ever, doubling the number of viral tests administered from April to May from 104,247 to 255,030—but hospitalizations aren't trending up. Cameron points out that ultimately, increased testing catches people when they are earlier in the illness and can be treated at home and is likely catching asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic people before they start spreading the virus to others, breaking the chain of transmission.

  1. A Gradual Reopening

While Texas, Florida, and Arizona rushed to reopen their economy, allowing people to flood beaches, bars, and restaurants, Ohio used a more gradual reopening strategy. For example, many medical and dental procedures started reopening May 1, followed by bars and restaurants allowing indoor service on May 21, and gyms and low-contact sports on May 26. In the past week, zoos, museums and water parks have reopened in the past week. Large gathering spaces, such as concert halls and professional sports, are still closed. 

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When businesses were allowed to reopen, some opted not to and many opened at a lower capacity. They were also required to follow safety rules, such as keeping six feet apart between patrons, wearing masks, and frequently disinfecting. 

  1. Promising Mobility Data

According to mobility data, residents of Ohio are taking the pandemic seriously and aren't rushing to leave the house. 

According to cell phone location data analyzed by Google, people spent about 40% less time at the office during May, compared to January and February. Also, during the first week of the state's stay-at-home order, traffic was down nearly 50 percent compared to the following year. Even now, traffic is still more than 20 percent less than in 2019. 

And, just because restaurants are reopening, people aren't dining out. During the first week that restaurants were open for dining, reservations were down over 70 percent compared to the same time last year, according to data from OpenTable. Over the last week, they have increased but are still 58 percent less than last year. 

As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

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