COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Ohio has now reported more than 400,000 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, hitting the grim milestone on what would normally have been a day to celebrate.
Any other year, Saturday would have been about the Ohio State University game against Michigan, but the ‘Shoe sat quiet this year.
Fans, among them an infectious disease expert, want to bring gameday back to normal, and now is the time to be taking the virus spread seriously to reach that goal next fall.
A lot of fans said they’d normally be tailgating or hosting big watch parties for the rivalry game, but this year, COVID-19 had other plans.
On what would normally have been gameday, the state exceeded the 400,000 case mark, adding more than 100,000 new cases in the past two weeks.
Some of those cases include Buckeye players and team staff members, including head coach Ryan Day.
Many fans are disappointed to they can’t watch their favorite team this weekend, but doctors, and some fans who’ve had the virus, said it’s time to get back to the basics so fans can have a normal football season next year.
“If we’re able to hunker down and do things the right way, we can be able to be there next year, but it take the work to be put in now,” said OSU fan Ashley Waltermeyer.
“Any time that you’re doing anything with somebody outside of your house, specifically anything that involves eating or drinking or what we do when we celebrate the holidays, it’s always a riskier proposition when you’re having a celebration with people outside your household,” said Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, an infectious disease expert with OhioHealth.
He added that as 2020 winds down, it’s very possible the state could hit some more grim milestones.
“We reached over 300,000 cases on Nov. 16, we just hit 400,000 cases today, so we’ll easily hit 500, maybe 600,000 cases by the end of December,” Gastaldo said.
Gastaldo expects healthcare workers will be able to be vaccinated before the end of the year, but the general public won’t have access to it for months.
However, he warns that the next few months are critically important to double down on the tried and true safety measures – wear a mask, socially distance, and wash you hands.