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WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio | Columbus News, Weather & Sports |

State experts cite masks as best defense against COVID-19 until more Ohioans vaccinated

While some states are ending mask mandates, Gov. Mike DeWine and his administration say Ohio will continue as more residents get their COVID-19 vaccine.

CLEVELAND — As Governors in Texas and Mississippi announce an end to mask mandates and business restrictions, Ohio leaders are not following suit. 

“It all boils down to herd immunity,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff of Ohio Dept. of Health. “We get closer to that, as the Governor has noted, we are going to be able to start talking about moving back and away from some of the safe guards that we are using now.”

However, it is a different story for states like Mississippi and Texas. On Tuesday night, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced he's lifting business capacity limits and the state's mask mandate - effective next Wednesday. On Wednesday, the White House Press Secretary said President Biden believes we must trust the science. 

"We need to remain vigilant, and he believes that, and he's hopeful that people in these states will continue to follow the guidelines that have been set out and the recommendations made by health and medical experts,” said White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki.

Medical experts like University Hospitals Dr. Amy Edwards says we must keep in mind the new COVID-19 variants, as they are very contagious.

“If we let our guard down right now when so few of us are vaccinated…it’s not a strong possibility, it's a guarantee that we will have a fourth wave and it will be huge,” said Dr. Edwards. 

Considering only 7% of Ohioans are fully vaccinated, Governor DeWine's spokesman tells 3News, currently masks and social distancing are our best defense against the virus. When more people are vaccinated, our best defense will eventually be the vaccine. 

“Our vaccines are very very good but you know, not any of them are 100 percent. So until more and more of us get vaccinated, it's premature for us to talk about putting aside our masks and social distancing,” said Vanderhoff. 

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