COVID Impact: State Governments.
Governments at every level—local, state, and federal—have taken an uneven approach in their response to COVID-19. Regardless of party or their place in the country, governors’ reactions have broadly fit three categories. Governors who increased their public visibility to ensure their message reaches a higher number of people
- Governor Mike DeWine (Ohio) was the first governor to call for a statewide closure of schools on March 12, the first to ban mass gatherings, and the first to shut down bars and restaurants. To offset the shock of implementing such stringent policies earlier than most, DeWine’s daily press briefings and regular appearances on cable news shows helped him communicate to a larger audience and explain the reasoning behind his decisions.
- Governor Andrew Cuomo (New York) has also received praise across the country for his steady leadership and constant communication with the general public about New York’s response to the virus. His lighthearted interviews with his brother, Chris, on CNN and his daily slideshows show a genuine, heartfelt side of the governor that is reassuring to many. His constant updates, both on social media and on cable news, provide a steady stream of information to New York residents that keeps them abreast of how their state is responding to this outbreak.
- Governor Gavin Newsom (California) unveiled a six-point plan to re-open his state, emphasizing the importance of data like the flattening of the curve, hospitalization rates, and the number of people in ICU beds. Without giving an exact date, this data is a tool that can help constituents better understand the state of the virus and when life may return to normal.
- Governor Larry Hogan (Maryland) began publishing confirmed case data for COVID-19 by zip code to show the disparate impact of the virus on minority communities. That data guided the state’s response, highlighting areas where it can do better, and help address the disproportionate impact on the state’s black community.
- Governor Ron DeSantis (Florida) delayed a statewide stay-at-home order, letting spring breakers roam free despite growing concern about the virus in other parts of the country. Governor DeSantis justified his decision by pointing out that the White House Task Force had not yet recommended a stay-at-home order.
- Governor DeWine went from a 49% approval rating before COVID-19 to an 80% rating.
- Governor Cuomo went from a 47% approval rating before COVID-19 to a 79% rating.
- Governor Newsom went from a 42% approval rating before COVID-19 to an 83% rating.