Thousands of Ohioans are out of work on the first full day of a statewide stay-at-home order to control the spread of the coronavirus. On Tuesday, officials confirmed at least 564 cases and eight deaths.
The shutdown of nonessential businesses is having a massive effect. Almost 140,000 people filed for unemployment benefits in Ohio last week compared with fewer than 5,000 a week earlier.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine says the state is taking two tracks to fight the coronavirus — urging residents to stay at home to limit new infections while simultaneously increasing hospital capacity. "We have closed down about everything that we really in the state can close down," he said.
Here is some Ailsa Chang's interview with DeWine on All Things Considered on Ohio's unemployment crisis:
Can you just bring us up to speed on what the numbers are right now ... of people filing for unemployment in Ohio?
We've had massive numbers. I have not looked at where they are today. But as you can expect, you would expect when you start closing businesses, people are trying to apply for unemployment. And, you know, frankly, this is an area where we really do need help from the federal government. And we've got people who do not pay into the unemployment, you know, people who come into a different category [such as independent contractors]. ...
Sometimes these are very, very small businesses ... they have one, two people. Sole person working many times, but they technically are an independent contractor.
So you see it as a real challenge for Ohio to be able to shore up resources to absorb all the thousands and thousands of more people on unemployment right now?
Oh, absolutely. Look, we've got to have help from the federal government, you know, some of the things that the federal government, the Congress has been talking about. That would be one thing. That would be a great help if they could help in that area. I mean, look, we have a constitutional prohibition against printing money, so to speak. I mean, we can't do that. We cannot run a deficit.
So we've already ordered all my members of the Cabinet to make cuts. And we've frozen the number of people who are being hired. And we've ... frozen spending.
Listen to the full audio of the interview here.
You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for. If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.