It's Up to You Ohio

During a crisis, we need to activate the gears of government but when that machinery has been woefully underfunded, we should not be surprised when it fails.  After a strong start fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio’s case numbers and all its related grim outcomes are getting worse by the day.  It seems like our statewide hashtag needs to change from #AllInThisTogetherOhio to #ItsUpToYouOhio because Ohio is ill-equipped for this fight, and that reality might cost you your life.

An analysis of two recent reports on public health funding levels indicate that Ohio’s recent failures are a result of a lack of resources.  The Trust for America’s Health ( produced a report at the end of 2017 that rated the 50 states for public health preparedness for diseases, disasters and bioterrorism.  Ohio achieved a score of 3 out of 10 possible measures.  Only Alaska (2 out of 10) had a worse total.  

The Trust also evaluated per capita spending on public health programs and subsequently ranked Ohio 44th out of 50 states.   More recent data suggests things are trending in the wrong direction for the Buckeye state.  According to the most recent America’s Health Rankings report (2019), Ohio ranks 47th out of 50 for public health funding.  See for yourself at

Based upon the lack of state investment, Ohio’s lack of COVID tests should come as no surprise.  As of mid-July, we are four months into the COVID-19 crisis, and we have only tested 1 million Ohioans.  On our best day, Ohio has conducted 25,000 Coronavirus tests.  There are over 70,000 confirmed cases and a positivity rate of about 6%.  That data suggests two disturbing possible projections: 1.  There might be 700,000 Ohioans with this disease and 2. At our current rate, it will take another 400 days to test every Ohioan once.  Can you wait another 14 months to know if you are positive?

So please wear a mask.  Asymptomatic transmission is how this virus spreads.  Until Ohio strengthens its public health infrastructure, our best weapons are physical distancing and wearing a mask.  Our best strategy is our own behaviors. It’s Up To You, Ohio. 

State Representative Kent Smith represents Ohio’s 8th House District which includes Euclid, Beachwood, South Euclid, Richmond Heights, East Cleveland, Woodmere Village, and a little bit of the City of Cleveland.

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Volume 11, Issue 8, Posted 6:26 PM, 08.10.2020