Our Best Stuff From a Week Things Opened Up Just a Little

Happy Sunday! I don’t know if you heard, but Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced this week that anyone who’s been vaccinated will be entered into a lottery to win $1 million. There will be five drawings. With any luck, maybe this newsletter will start coming to you from a tropical locale where I type with my toes in the sand and have a fruity beverage served in a coconut by my side. (Don’t worry, boss. We already decided my husband is the one who can quit his job when we win.)

That was the announcement that got DeWine the most attention—-and a fair amount of ridicule from critics unimpressed by the idea of bribing people to get vaccinated. The way I see it, Ohio has to spend its pandemic relief money on something, and giving people a chance to win $1 million can’t be less effective than, say, spending that money on scoldy public service announcements. 

But it wasn’t the only news. As of June 2, we’ll be out of COVID jail, as nearly all public health orders pertaining to the pandemic are ending. Now, to be fair, our  COVID jail has been far more like one of those cushy minimum-security places they send white collar criminals than, say, a supermax facility. Even during the worst of the winter wave, nothing closed down completely. Bars and restaurants closed at 10 p.m. for a while. There were capacity restrictions on a lot of indoor events, like athletic competitions. While we had a statewide mask mandate, it was mostly indoors. The only time we experienced an outdoor mask mandate was when we took our oldest on a college tour in Athens over spring break.

It’s felt all along like DeWine has been trying to strike a balance by putting in place public health measures to keep people safe while not locking down to such a degree that the economy suffers anymore than it has to. (And also trying to avoid fights with the state legislature.) It’s hard to argue against his strategy. We rank 39th in cases per 100,000 people and 28th in deaths per 100,000. Meanwhile, our unemployment rate is a respectable 4.7 percent. (California’s, by comparison, is 8.1 and New York’s is 8.5.)

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