COVID-19: Steps needed for Ohio’s safe return


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Dr. Mark Weir, an assistant professor in environmental health sciences at the College of Public Health at Ohio State University, outlined how Ohio will return safely from COVID-19 during Gov. Mike DeWine’s Thursday press briefing.

Dr. Weir began by stating how Ohioans should understand the virus. He said the virus is transmitted in three ways: droplets, surfaces and cross contamination.

He added understanding the virus also involves three tiers: the virus’ impact on you, the environment’s impact on the virus and the virus’ impact on society.

Dr. Weir then went on to explain the infection process and showed the process can be cut off by any of the following measures, which then eliminate the virus’ ability to spread:

“Preventing the infection process is really quite simple,” Dr Weir said. “It is a matter of multiple parties working together in concert to be able to limit access of other people to the virus.”

He said it starts with wearing a mask and even if the mask fails, other preventive measures will stop the virus from spreading.

“It’s best to think of it as multiple barriers or multiple shields,” Dr. Weir said. “Just because you can get through one barrier doesn’t mean you can get through other ones, and if one of those barriers doesn’t work as effectively as you think it will, then there’s other barriers to protect you along the way.”

Dr. Weir’s next point of emphasis centered around the connection between our own personal controls, business operated controls and facility/building controls. He said these factors working in cohesion will allow Ohio to safely return even while COVID-19 is present, which is expected for at least another year without a vaccine.

He then returned to the importance of wearing a mask after Gov. Mike DeWine inquired about the importance of covering your nose and mouth while out in public.

“If you are wearing a mask, then you are protecting those people around you. Your providing yourself an additional layer of protection as well,” Dr. Weir said. “A mask, when you’re talking about it, you’re talking about ‘I protect myself and my family and my neighbors, my neighbors protect themselves and their family and me at the same time.’ It really is a team sport.”

Dr. Weir added data is still be analyzed and collected to see what the effectiveness is for different types of masks, including cloth masks most people use when they’re out in public.

When it comes to the virus’ lifespan, Dr. Weir said without intervention, it can last up to three hours in the air and surrounding area and it can last for up to 72 hours on a surface.

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