Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday evening that wearing a mask to protect against coronavirus is “about loving your fellow human being,” saying he tells Ohioans to wear the face coverings even as they have become a political flashpoint amid the pandemic.
“This is an instruction as old as the Bible. You are supposed to love your fellow man and woman, and that is what we are doing,” DeWine told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360.”
“I think that’s the message. You are not wearing it so much for yourself as you are wearing it for that person that you will come in contact with.”
His comments come as President Donald Trump has sought to politicize the wearing of masks during the coronavirus crisis. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended Americans wear masks in public, the President has not worn one during factory tours in recent weeks and even shared a tweet mocking former Vice President Joe Biden for wearing one at a Memorial Day ceremony.
The White House continued Tuesday to stoke that political back-and-forth, sowing doubt about when and where Americans should be wearing masks and muddying recommendations from top health officials.
DeWine said Tuesday that his push for people to wear masks is rooted in science showing “we have so many people we found who are walking around and have absolutely no symptoms.”
“They don’t have a clue they have this, but they do in fact have it. That’s why it is so important that we assume the person we are coming in contact with has it, and they should assume we have it,” he said. “And if we both wear a mask, that gives us some added protection.”
The Republican governor was criticized earlier this month for ordering all residents to wear masks in public, a mandate he has since rescinded because “a significant number of Ohioans are offended by this (and) thought it was just government overreach.”
And, he said, he didn’t want people to start tuning out his other requests and orders as the fight continues with coronavirus.
“If we lose that willingness, then it will be disaster,” DeWine said at the time. “We will lose many, many more lives and our business will not come back. We can’t lose that sense.”
His comments Tuesday night echoed his message during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“This is not about politics. This is not about whether you’re liberal or conservative, left or right, Republican, Democrat,” he said.
“We wear the mask, and it’s been very clear what the studies have shown; you wear the mask not to protect yourself so much as to protect others. And this is one time when we truly are all in this together. What we do directly impacts others.”