Governors cite deaths to emphasize seriousness of COVID

Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 5:57 PM EDT
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WOOD COUNTY, W.Va. (WTAP) - While cases-and deaths-from the latest surge of the pandemic continue to rise, governors of West Virginia and Ohio have become more emphatic about the casualties.

In West Virginia, there have been nearly 300 reported deaths this month, and while that’s far below the peak number reported in January, it’s already twice the number from August. There have been a record 922 hospitalizations.

Ohio is seeing similar numbers, and its governor Friday said the victims are getting younger, and less vaccinated.

“”We have an overwhelming number of deaths,” Gov. Jim Justice said at his Friday briefing. “74 more people died since Wednesday, and they will keep dying. That is all there is to it. We are just going to keep lining the body bags up, and we’ll keep lining them up and lining them up.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, in an appearance Friday at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport, cited statements made by hospital physicians about the number of recent deaths.

“When the doctor was talking about 30-year olds and 40-year olds dying, people who had a whole lifetime ahead of them, poeple who probably had children, people who would have liked to have grandchildren, this is just a horrible, horrible waste.”

Both Justice and DeWine have encouraged schools to issue orders to students and teachers to wear masks in school. Most of the county school systems in West Virginia and more than half of Ohio districts have done so. Neither governor, however, has imposed a statewide mask order as some are calling on them to do. Statewide orders in both West Virginia and Ohio were lifted early in the summer.

Both governors also have criticized President Joe Biden’s recent call for businesses to require vaccinations for employees, although both have encouraged people to get vaccinated.

Late last week, it was reported the U.S. reached 42 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic in March, 2020-with a total of 676,000 deaths so far.

The latest numbers from both states are available from and

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