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Ohio's Senators Say Coronavirus Must Be Taken Seriously As State Reopens

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, left, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speak to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018.
J. Scott Applewhite
/
AP
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, left, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speak to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018.

As Ohio moves forward in reopening businesses, the state's U.S. Senators stress the importance of taking the coronavirus seriously even as social restrictions begin to lift.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) say they commend Gov. Mike DeWine's response to COVID-19. But Brown says there are other Republicans who are not supporting social distancing, a narrative he says starts with President Donald Trump.

"For Republicans in most places to continue to just mimic what the president says and does and to continue to deny that this is a serious public health threat that it is, is morally reprehensible," Brown says.

Portman disagrees, saying the president has set the tone with his reopening guidelines.

"Providing federal guidance, which has been approved by the White House and by the CDC and by NIH and Dr. [Deborah] Birx and Dr. [Anthony] Fauci," Portman says.

Both senators emphasize the deadly nature of the virus. Wes Fahrbach, a former aide to Portman, passed away last month due to COVID-19.