COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday news of President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis should serve as a “powerful reminder that we have to do the basic things” to prevent the virus from spreading, including wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding large crowds.
“I think what this reminds us of is anyone who you may come into contact with may have COVID — anybody,” DeWine said. “If the president of the United States can have it, anyone can have it.”
Tuesday’s presidential debate at Case Western University in Cleveland has become a focus of the contact tracing effort after President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19 early Friday, with questions remaining as to whether either had the virus and were contagious during the debate.
Several members of Trump’s family reportedly refused to wear a mask during the debate, according to FOX19 NOW’s sister station in Cleveland, WOIO, who cited Tyler Pager from Bloomberg News for the report.
Wearing a mask indoors at the debate hall was advised by the host venue, the Cleveland Clinic.
When a Cleveland Clinic doctor approached members on Trump’s side of the audience and offered them a mask, Pager said he observed individuals refusing to put one on.
NBC’s Hallie Jackson reported on debate night: “The Trump family and other members of the administration entered the debate hall, where rules mandated everyone in the room wear masks, without masks.”
Trump criticized former Vice President Joe Biden during the debate for the frequency of his mask use, quipping: “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask on.”
Speaking on Ohio’s rising COVID-19 cases, DeWine advocated Friday for widespread mask use, saying wearing a mask “is not rocket science” and “is not difficult.”
DeWine did not attend the debate but said he and his wife, Fran DeWine, met with the president aboard Air Force One. DeWine said he and Fran wore masks but Trump did not during the meeting.
DeWine said he and Fran tested negative Friday.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted did attend the debate. He said Friday he did not come within 50 feet of the president or his group but is currently self-quarantining as a precaution. Husted also took a test Friday and tested negative, the governor’s office confirmed Friday night.
Responding to criticism of the Cleveland Clinic in enforcing mask use during the debate, Husted described protocols put in place by the hospital. To get into the debate, everyone had to test negative for the virus, he said. Everyone had their temperature taken as well, and Husted claimed everyone had to wear a mask to get in.
“I wasn’t in a position where I could see everyone, but everyone in my sight line had a mask on — outside the participants in the debate,” he said.
Later Husted added: “I thought that [Cleveland Clinic] and Case Western did everything they could do to do the right thing.”
DeWine said he would not consider requiring future campaign events in Ohio to go fully virtual.
“We are trying to learn to live with this [virus], and I believe we can live with this if we are cautious,” he said.