Heisman trophy winner DeVonta Smith has nearly single-handedly dragged his Alabama side to a 52-24 win over Ohio State to throw a spanner in the works with the NFL Draft.
But his performance didn’t only have the football world buzzing with the likes of NBA legend LeBron James in awe of Smith’s play.
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Wide receiver Smith scored three touchdowns as the University of Alabama capped an undefeated season in the US college football national championship game.
Alabama notched their sixth national title under coach Nick Saban, who now has a record seven overall.
“This is a team that was always together,” Saban said of how his players responded to the difficulties of the pandemic-disrupted season.
“Everybody bought into the principles and values of the organisation and program,” Saban said. “And they just did a great job. They played together. They supported each other. This is a great team.”
The victory saw wild celebrations in the streets of Tuscaloosa, Alabama with fans on social media quick to share concern over the sheer number of people in close quarters.
It’s not the first time wild celebrations have drawn concern with the Lakers’ NBA victory attracting similar questions.
Alabama have had more than 400,000 cases of COVID but the last week has seen several days with more than 5000 new cases a day.
Tuscaloosa County has had more than 20,000 cases of COVID.
Tuscaloosa is the college town for the University of Alabama and comes after a season which saw players, coaches and staff undergoing daily antigen testing, while some of the biggest stars in the sport were sidelined by COVID.
But while Trevor Lawrence is expected to go first in the Draft and Ohio’s Justin Fields was believed to be in the box seat to go second, Smith’s insane game — and season — may force a rethink.
Smith was the first wide receiver since 1991 to win the Heisman Trophy which goes to the top college player in the country.
He had 12 catches for 215 yards in the first two quarters, when his 18 points were one more than the Buckeyes’ 17, and he out-gained Ohio State 215-190 yards.
The only thing that stopped him was an injured hand in the third quarter.
And yet he still broke the records for most receptions in a championship game with 12, most touchdowns with three, most yards in a half, the most yards in the two-game playoffs with 345 and six touchdowns in the playoffs.
It comes after he shattered records all season.
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, who was third in the Heisman voting, finished with 464 passing yards and five touchdowns.
“Unbelievable,” Smith said. “We just finished writing our story.”
Saban, who coached Louisiana State to the title in 2003, notched his sixth championship with Alabama and his third of the playoff era.
He had entered the contest tied with legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant for most titles of any college coach.
“I’m just happy that we won tonight,” he said. “I really haven’t thought about that (record) because you’re always looking forward.
“And I just love this team so much,” Saban added. “What they’ve been able to do, I can’t even put it into words.”
Over three weeks in October and November, the virus became a plague on the Malinowski family. It delivered “cheap shots.” It took hostages. And it left them with pain and grief.
For Keith Malinowski, an avid deer hunter from Canal Fulton, Ohio, who works in railroad construction, his emails were his way of coping in a time of high stress. But they also had a specific purpose: to update family members, most of whom live out-of-state, about his immediate family, including his father, a 59-year-old train engineer and Pittsburgh Steelers fan; his mother, Jody, 58; and his 34-year-old sister, Jamie, who lived together in Doylestown. He also writes about his wife, Brandy, a nursing home worker, and his 15-year-old stepdaughter, Maddy.
The family has granted the Akron Beacon Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, permission to print those emails, which have been lightly edited for clarity and length, in the hopes they can convince others to take the virus seriously as cases and hospitalizations continue to surge.
They show, in real time, the reality of the virus that has caused more than 290,000 deaths in the United States, yet still has its skeptics and naysayers.
They also show a family clinging to joy, wherever they can find it.
Oct. 15, 4:12 p.m.: ‘Dad was tested for COVID yesterday evening’
Dad was tested for COVID yesterday evening at Barberton Hospital after being admitted for symptoms he thought were related to other preexisting health conditions. Unfortunately, each symptom he exhibited directly correlated with COVID. While in good spirits, he called me and confirmed that he indeed tested positive. Our conversation was short and sweet as he had to contact his employer, I had to shut down my operation and Brandy hers at the nursing facility.
Dad and I spent this past Sunday hunting together on an unseasonably warm day here in Ohio. Although we don’t sit side by side while hunting, we rode together, walked together and enjoyed a nice afternoon lunch. During our lunch, I noticed he was developing a slight cough. After progressively getting worse throughout Monday and Tuesday he finally went to the hospital Wednesday afternoon.
Currently, Dad is feeling “ok” and receiving Remdesivir. He mentioned being eligible for this medicine due to his preexisting conditions and not all symptomatic COVID patients receive this medication. As of this afternoon, he will be admitted for at least 5 days while seeking treatment.
Brandy and I immediately scheduled COVID tests at the local CVS and were completed at 11:30 this morning. Brandy took great delight in swabbing my nose in the romantic setting of a CVS drive through on our wedding anniversary. Yes, it’s been four years! We should receive the results in the next 2-3 days. Maddy was already at school as this all unfolded and hasn’t been tested at this point.
Thanks for all your prayers and I will do my best to keep everyone updated.
Oct. 18, 8:54 a.m.: ‘He sounded like he was running a marathon’
Dad’s COVID battle continued to decline yesterday as he was battling lowering oxygen levels. I talked to him personally around noon and he was maintaining his oxygen level around 88%. He was struggling to breathe but didn’t seem too concerned. Around 4 p.m., he called and stated they were moving him to ICU as a precaution because his levels were continuing to decline. He sounded like he was running a marathon. Around 6 p.m., mom received a call from the ICU doctor and was told his oxygen level dropped to 70% and was being closely monitored with a ventilator on standby.
The doctor stated he is in “very critical condition and has a long road ahead of him.” Once put on the vent, he’s on it for 5-10 days as his lungs begin (not try–happy thoughts) to heal.
Brandy and I both received our COVID test results and tested NEGATIVE. However, I’m on a mandated quarantine due to direct contact exposure with Dad, and Brandy is out of work for 2 weeks due to extreme caution with her nursing home facility. In accordance to Ohio’s guidelines for school, Maddy is able to return to school due to no direct contact exposure with a known positive COVID case, however, we are evaluating our personal preference.
Oct. 18, 10:49 a.m.: Treatments ‘improving his condition’
Mom received a promising call from Dad this morning. He is on a CPAP machine receiving breathing treatments and this is improving his condition. Also, he received donor plasma with COVID antibodies to help fight the virus. So far, no further discussion on the ventilator. At the end of the conversation he let a strong and pronounced GO STEELERS! For those of you who don’t know, the Steelers play the Browns today in a big rivalry game.
Oct. 19, 7:43 a.m.: ‘2020 is going to be a grind to the end’
Yesterday started out better than expected after both Mom and I had a chance to talk to Dad; however, his no-nonsense, straight-shooter doctor called and fully explained his condition in great detail to me. I was more than appreciative of the 20-plus minutes he took to explain everything in a tactful manner. Amongst the doctor’s COVID patients he has seen since the pandemic started, Dad’s condition is “moderately severe leaning towards more severe.” However, the good news is that the medical field has learned a great deal since the beginning and Dad’s chances of survival are much better than earlier severely sick patients. The doctor mentioned that if Dad were this sick from COVID 6 months ago he would be gone by now.
At 5:06, the call came. Dr. (Matt) Chandler stated although Dad was fighting to maintain his oxygen levels where needed, they didn’t have a choice but to place him on the vent because he would eventually become too fatigued.
Currently, Dad is sedated and resting peacefully on a ventilator. They will gently bring him out of sedation every morning to examine his eyes and cognitive abilities to be certain he is doing well.
Yes, this is all tough news but Dad is a fighter! Undoubtedly, it will be a long road home but through Dad’s hard work and your thoughts and prayers he can beat this! We can beat this!
2020 is going to be a grind to the end.
Oct. 20, 10:35 a.m.: ‘Mom tested POSITIVE’
Being stubborn and unable to wait around for an overnight update, I contacted the ICU this morning and spoke directly with Dad’s nurse, Nurse Abby. She freaked a little when I stated I was Frank Malinowski “her patient” rather than Frank “Keith” Malinowski, his son. Oops, my bad. Overnight, they had to sedate him more heavily and provide him with more oxygen because he is trying to fight the vent and breathe on his own. A good sign, however, the purpose for being on the vent is to rest, not fight. Again, Dad’s a fighter!!
In an unfortunate turn of events but expected, Mom tested POSITIVE for COVID while Jamie has, so far, tested NEGATIVE. After some frantic afternoon phone calls, Jamie and I have a plan in place in case Mom’s condition deteriorates. Thus far, mom is exhibiting a cough but nothing serious. I spoke with her this morning and she is feeling fatigued, overwhelmed and upset; all expected considering the circumstances.
Brandy has been more than helpful with providing Mom and Jamie with meals, groceries, medicine, disinfectant wipes and nursing advice as they battle through this. I will forever be indebted to her for her patience and gracefulness.
Oct. 21, 12:47 p.m.: Mom’s ‘COVID symptoms continued to get worse’
Dad is still heavily sedated, positioned on his stomach (COVID research has shown this helps) and hooked to the ventilator. The medical staff also administered a paralytic to provide temporary paralysis to allow him to rest. The paralytic changes their approach to waking him up daily to check his cognitive ability. As I understand it, they could still bring him out of sedation to check his well-being but it’s unfair for the patient to experience paralysis. Thus, they won’t be waking him.
Last night was rough for Mom as her COVID symptoms continued to get worse. Finally, after much back and forth discussion, it was decided Mom should go to the hospital for evaluation. Through lung imagery and blood work, the doctor determined she wasn’t severe enough to be admitted. He sent her home with some anti-nausea medication and advice on how to cope with the symptoms.
Many have asked the million-dollar question: Where did he come in contact with the virus? Nobody knows but please understand since the onset of the pandemic Dad has taken every CDC precaution very seriously to avoid this deadly virus. He was strictly warned by his doctor this wasn’t anything he wanted to come in contact with. In fact, he was off work for weeks as he avoided exposure. Dad avoided large crowds, practiced social distancing, always wore a mask and washed his hands routinely.
It’s hard to accept the fact that even with all these precautions he still came into contact with the virus. It just doesn’t seem fair. In my Dad’s words, during his last conversation with his brother Ed, “Don’t f*** with this virus. It’s real–Not a hoax.” Please spread this message to other family, friends, neighbors, co-workers or random strangers. It could save someone like Dad.
Today’s nurse, Nurse Amy, stated Dad’s vitals are good, he is positioned on his belly and his health is continuing to trend in the right direction.
After a nice conversation with Mom this morning, we agreed last night was the best night’s sleep any of us have had since Dad was admitted. She sounded strong and hopeful as she repeated, “I’m kicking COVID’s butt!” Dad is doing the same! My heart certainly goes out to all those families who are experiencing loss and unable to comfort their loved ones. So many lives are being lost in such an unfair manner.
Oct. 23, 11:25 a.m.: Mom and Dad’s health ‘in the right direction,’ Jamie has a test scheduled
Dad has Nurse Amy again today and his health continues to head in the right direction. I’m getting much better at my morning interrogations and the nurse seemed very prepared for the questions I had to ask. They will continue the daily breathing exercises and look forward to him lasting a little longer each time. He doesn’t have a fever, his vitals are good and he is showing no other signs of infection.
Mom continues to show signs of improvement and Jamie has a COVID test scheduled for this afternoon. She is exhibiting a cough and fatigue but doesn’t sound too serious at this point. It’s a beautiful day here in Ohio and if the weather holds up, I plan on putting Maddy to work in Mom and Dad’s yard this afternoon.
Apparently, Friday night Dad became agitated and tried pulling the vent out. This kind of created a few minor setbacks. They had to increase his sedation to keep him more unconscious and they decided not to conduct a breathing trial as a result. Saturday was spent strictly resting.
Mom feels weak but continues to keep a positive attitude. She is trying to eat enough to barely keep “a bird” alive. Jamie remains weak and patiently waiting for her second COVID test results.
Friday evening, Brandy helped me rake leaves, clean the bird bath and mow at Mom and Dad’s. We had the yard looking beautiful just in time for dark. At which point a cold front moved in with tornadic-force winds. Ever feel like you just can’t win?
I spent Saturday hunting and harvested the most unique buck of my life. It was a bittersweet moment and I could sense Dad’s enthusiasm the entire time.
Oct. 26, 12:43 p.m.: ‘Decision will be made day by day’
I was able to email the nurse a picture of my deer and asked her to tack it up on Dad’s wall or set it bedside to look at once he is able. Surely it will shift his focus and lift his spirits; not so sure about his nurse’s. I’m certain he will call for “deer talk” once he is in better condition.
A new ICU doctor is on rotation this week and come to find out is the brother of Dr. Chandler with whom I spoke to last Sunday as they were prepping Dad for the vent. Each doctor sounds identical and both seem to have the same positive attitudes towards patients and their families. The BIG FOCUS this week is to wean Dad off the sedation and vent. They want to be as certain as possible before they take this next big step. This decision will be made day by day.
Mom is continuing to recover from her bout with COVID and Jamie confirmed, this morning, what we all suspected. She tested POSITIVE for COVID and is feeling terrible. They are both hunkering down and battling it out.
Brandy and I are both nearing the end of our quarantine and tested again this morning to be sure we each remain negative before returning back to work later this week. We aren’t suffering from any symptoms and should have our results Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
Oct. 27, 11:32 a.m.: ‘Mom and Jamie are totally fatigued’
Dad is fighting a bacterial infection from the vent tube, which is a common occurrence for those on a ventilator for prolonged periods of time. They anticipated this and are treating it with antibiotics.
Dad remains the only patient currently on a vent in the ICU but the floor is filling up quickly with COVID patients who may be in need of vents soon. They assured me there are plenty of vents – at the moment.
Mom and Jamie are totally fatigued, exhausted and have no appetite. I monitor them a few times a day by calling and making sure their symptoms aren’t becoming any more severe. It hurts to call because they are typically resting but it must be done.
Oct. 28, 12:14 p.m.: Dad’s recovery as ‘unpredictable’ as the illness
As they planned, Dad was taken off the vent shortly before 9 this morning and is responding well to the oxygen being provided through the nasal cannula. They really want to take things slow. As the nurse put it, “Your dad just survived life support for 10 days.” I guess he isn’t quite ready for deer hunting.
Once taken off the vent, Nurse Heather stated Dad tried talking in a very faint whisper. She leaned her ear to his mouth and could hear him asking how Mom was doing. I asked her to assure him that Mom and Jamie are staying strong and look forward to speaking with him when ready. It could be a few hours or days before Dad is well enough to have a conversation. As unpredictable as the virus is, so is the recovery.
As mentioned, the first step in the recovery process will be the speech/swallow evaluation. This will determine what kind of diet and speech therapy he will need after not talking or eating for 10 days. The next step will be a physical and occupational therapy assessment to determine what level of therapy is needed to regain motor skills.
Dad has gained quite the following over the past few weeks. So much so, I’m sure he will be embarrassed. Dad has always lived his life avoiding attention, being respectful, working hard and being there. This quiet unassuming man, who at all costs avoids the spotlight, means so much more to us than I think he ever realized. Let’s continue to show him!
Oct. 29, 9:39 p.m.: ‘Today started with smiles then ended with tears’
Today started with smiles then ended with tears.
Dad is doing remarkably well as he recovers and I spoke to him for about 20 seconds today. However, we need to focus our attention on another battle that lies ahead.
While I was at work early this afternoon, Mom called and said Jamie wasn’t doing well and may need to go to the doctor. Jamie wasn’t responding to Mom’s voice or touch. After I asked Mom to violently shake her and put the phone to Jamie’s face so I could talk to her, we still couldn’t elicit a response. I then asked Mom to hold Jamie’s hand and ask her to squeeze – nothing. The rest was a blur. I frantically told Mom to call 9-1-1 and I would be at the house in 10 minutes. I arrived just in time to assist the paramedics with carrying Jamie out of the house and into the ambulance while asking if she had a pulse. They confirmed she had a pulse and was breathing but had to move. I yelled to Mom I would update her as I peeled out behind the squad.
Jamie was rushed to the same hospital as Dad and immediately put on a ventilator. Her oxygen was down to 72% and had Mom not checked on Jamie when she did, it’s doubtful she would had made it through the night. Mom is a HERO! Moments ago, I spoke with Dr. (Mike) Chandler, who I have become all too familiar with. Although I trust his care, the news isn’t any easier to swallow. Jamie is currently in the ICU, sedated and on vent. They are pushing Remdesivir, COVID antibody plasma, steroids and blood thinner to begin her treatments.
Unfortunately, Jamie is a little behind where Dad was when he was admitted to the ICU. Remember, he was admitted into the hospital for observation for a few days before he was transferred to the ICU. They were planning on his decline. They are reacting to Jamie’s.
Dr. Chandler will update me through the night as her condition changes. She is critical but stable.
I have so much more to say but I’m exhausted and numb.
Please keep the thoughts and prayers coming.
Oct. 30, 9:08 p.m.: Jamie ‘sacrificed her health’ to help Mom
“Your dad is winning the horse race but your sister is gaining ground.” – Dr. Chandler
Dr. Chandler called this morning and gave me an update on both Dad and Jamie. As we know, Jamie was very critical while being admitted to the ICU but after being stabilized her vitals were surprisingly good. Youthfulness is on her side.
Please understand Jamie’s rapidly deteriorating condition was nobody’s fault. Jamie selflessly sacrificed her health and well-being by helping Mom during her most severe COVID symptoms and Mom was there for Jamie. They both rolled up their sleeves, dug in and planned to grind this virus out until the end. Jamie was experiencing fatigue, weakness, headaches, body aches and loss of appetite but never exhibited any indication of respiratory failure. While Jamie slept throughout the day, with Mom resting in the neighboring room, the virus crept into her lungs and began to silently kill her. If not for Mom’s motherly instinct, we likely would have lost Jamie in her sleep overnight. This is the virus; this is how it works and this is how it kills!
Dad has called Mom on a few occasions today and has a strong steady voice. Especially while proclaiming his displeasure for JELL-O. Dad spends his day watching tv while not knowing what time of day it is because his room doesn’t have a window. He is receiving a steady diet of macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes to begin replacing the 45 lbs. he lost. All is well.
Nov. 1, 9:02 a.m.: ‘Last man standing’
“Are you experiencing any fever or COVID symptoms? After all, you seem to be the last man standing.” – Dr. Chandler
Jamie is still sedated and paralyzed but they are hopeful they will be able to wean her off the vent Sunday/Monday. Her vitals, kidney function and blood pressure are all good! She is still critical but Dr. Chandler has a good track record and Jamie continues to fight towards good health.
Dad called me on his cell phone and we made small talk about deer hunting and his condition. He said it was everything two nurses and himself could do to get him up out of bed and sitting in a chair. He seemed excited to be in a chair but it was also a terrible struggle to maintain his posture and hold the phone to his ear. He gave me instructions to get working on a rehab center so he can get started. However, it’s not so simple. For starters, he is still considered “COVID positive” so that limits the centers willing to accept him. Also, his condition from good to bad or bad to good could change so sudden that this also plays a pivotal role in the type of facility acceptable for his care.
Obviously, yesterday was Halloween and Maddy’s favorite holiday. She and Brandy spent the morning gathering Halloween candy from Sam’s Club. While there, they also picked up food for a family in Canal Fulton who is beginning their COVID battle and dropped it off. Fortunately, only the mom has mild symptoms, at the moment, but the entire family (husband and few kids) are quarantined and put out a plea for help.
After returning home, Maddy hustled into her Plague Doctor costume and we were off to Doylestown for trick-or-treat from 2-3:30. I must assure you that Maddy was the same character last Halloween and this was by chance – not calculation and design. We parked in Mom and Dad’s driveway and sat near the end with the candy bowl on a table about 10 feet away where we could keep our social distancing. Mom had enough energy and took great delight at standing near the front door to watch the trick-or-treaters come and go. Too bad the trick-or-treaters didn’t appreciate our true Halloween display. Mom in the house quarantined, while the Plague Doctor vigilantly sat at the end of the driveway. I can’t make this stuff up!
Nov. 2, 8:17 p.m.: Jamie’s condition ‘continued to progress as expected’
Jamie had Nurse Caleb on Sunday and her condition continued to progress as expected. They flipped her onto her back Sunday evening into Monday and she maintained her oxygen levels. They gave her a dose of Tylenol to aid in reducing her 103-degree temp and they are also scheduling a breathing exercise Tuesday morning. Prayers that she does well and gets another step closer to being freed from the ventilator!
Dad is progressing remarkably well! So well that Sunday evening Dad was moved from the ICU to a general observation room. The ICU nurses hated to see him go because they finally had an opportunity to see who the man Dad is rather than the man he was on the vent. Nurse Heather seemed especially excited to see Dad continuing on from the first night she cared for him on the vent. Her voice seemed to indicate maybe he was far worse off than we feared those first few days.
Mom packed Dad a bag with clothes for his inpatient rehab but Brandy is on the hunt for something that may fit more appropriately after learning he has lost so much weight. I’m slipping in some deer pictures and hunting magazines. Although, Dad has been increasingly asked why his sole possession is a dead deer picture and not one of family. I promise I’m trying – I really am!!
I’m looking forward to my conference call tomorrow morning and finding out how well Jamie did during her breathing exercise. The medical staff sounds optimistic but we must never let our guard down to this terrible unforgiving virus.
Nov. 3, 8:17 p.m.: ‘What a relief!’ – Hopes for good news
“Oh, it’s you again. Let me get the nurse.” – ICU desk operator
After driving to Monaca, PA., re-railing a derailed hazardous materials rail car and participating in a practice emergency plant evacuation drill, I was able to call the ICU at 10:22. Their tone seemed to be more concerned for my late call than Jamie’s condition. I understood why once Nurse Amy informed me that Jamie was off the ventilator, following commands, talking and looking great! What a relief! She is currently on high flow oxygen but they will begin to wean her off that as the day/week progresses.
As I traveled back home on the PA turnpike, I pulled off into a service plaza and began making frantic phone calls to Mom, Dad’s nurse, doctor, case manager and social worker. I needed to find out soon how his overall condition was for the day and if he could handle the news of Jamie’s condition. After all, if Jamie was well enough to be talking to the nurse, I was afraid she may call Dad from her ICU room. What a mess that would be! After many calls and thoughtful consideration, Mom and I decided it was time I tell Dad. Dad took the news much better than I expected and conceded that he was worried so much about his situation that worrying about Jamie wouldn’t have helped matters. I’m so glad we no longer have to hide Jamie’s condition.
Dad may get moved into Select Specialty in Canton tomorrow. I dropped a bag off at the hospital this evening and called him from the parking lot to let him know a “small duffle bag” was on the way via wheelchair to his room. I feel bad for the poor soul who has to lug that boat anchor around! It contained more comfortable clothes, slippers, hygiene items, newspapers, hunting magazines, snacks and family pictures to raise his spirits. While notifying Dad of his bag arrival, he mentioned talking briefly with Jamie through the hospital phone.
Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to Dad being transferred to the rehab facility and hearing Jamie’s voice. We still have a long road ahead but good news continues to come our way.
Nov. 4, 7:47 p.m.: ‘Only time will tell but she is progressing well’
Jamie had Nurse Amy again today and is awake and alert. Now, it’s back to the waiting game that we have become all too familiar with. Each individual’s response to the virus and ventilator treatment is unique. Only time will tell but she is progressing well.
Dad is becoming restless in his room. He has read through the entire email thread and most of the local newspapers we provided him in his duffel bag. He was told this morning he was going to get transferred into a rehab facility but the call to pack it up never came. Nevertheless, he did his own rehab throughout his small room by doing arm raises, walking in place and reading while sitting up with his head and neck aligned. All exercises he couldn’t do just a few days ago.
Mom is doing well and sounds great! I have to look into whether or not she might be able to visit Dad, once in the rehab facility, after testing positive for COVID. We know Dad is allowed one visitor per day but don’t know what the restrictions are for those visitors who have tested positive within the past few weeks. More homework for another day.
Nov. 5, 8 p.m.: ‘One day at a time’
Shortly after a “follow up” phone call with Dad’s case worker this morning he received a call from Select Specialty stating they were ready to receive him. I’m not sure I had any pull, but… Tadaaa!! He was moved into the facility early this afternoon and has settled into his two-bed room. Fortunately, he is the only one in the room at the moment and will begin his rehab tomorrow morning with a physical therapist. He sounded fantastic and indicated his oxygen was reduced from 4 liters to 2 liters overnight. So low he was afraid it wasn’t working and summoned a nurse to turn it on. After gearing up in her face mask, oxygen tank, gloves, booties and hazmat suit she indicated to him it WAS ON. Perhaps this helped speed up his process for release?
This afternoon, Jamie was moved from the ICU to the fourth floor. The same floor Dad was on. In fact, his nurse stated she would wheel him past her room so he could peek in and say hi but transport wheeled him the other way and off the floor before Dad understood where he was. He didn’t speak up as he was relieved to be finally moving to a rehab facility. Mom spoke to Jamie on a few occasions and she seems to be improving. My morning conference call with her ICU nurse confirmed the same. One day at a time.
Nov. 7, 9:02 a.m.: ‘A great step in our family’s COVID recovery process’
Yesterday was a great step in our family’s COVID recovery process! Of course, I had to be in a tree stand over two hours away when Mom called and said Jamie was ready for release. I drove home, changed, picked Jamie up a set of clothes and a grocery list from Mom, purchased groceries then finally made it to the hospital. The main lobby allowed me up to the 4th floor and I was greeted with celebrity status. Dad must have been a big hit as each nurse who passed by stopped to ask how he was progressing. I was overwhelmed to see faces to the voices I had been receiving updates from for so long. If only I could have made it up to the ICU where lives are being saved.
I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was startling to see Jamie clutching a bottle of oxygen in her lap as she was pushed in a wheel chair out the front entrance of hospital. I was relieved when she said “Hi Keith” like everything was back to normal and it wasn’t a big deal. True Jamie fashion but I was scared. However, after only a few moments in the car I realized it was my sister Jamie, maybe a little worse for wear but remembering, talking and relieved to be alive. After her life-or-death bout with COVID, I think she was most disappointed in missing her favorite holiday: Halloween. Don’t worry Jamie, I will ask the Plague Doctor, who I suspect will be more than happy to parade you around town next year as a coronavirus survivor.
Nov. 22, 7:29 p.m.: After two weeks, a ‘sucker punch’
I apologize for the two-week hiatus in daily updates but I’m sure you can all understand. It has taken me a while to gather my thoughts and I wasn’t sure I could do this. However, Mom and Dad asked me to send an update on their positive progress. Please bear with me.
On November 8, 2020 at 4:29 p.m., the virus hit our family with the cheapest of cheap shots. A sucker punch, after the whistle blow when we were vulnerable with our backs turned and our guard down.
Brandy, Maddy and I planned a Sunday afternoon of cleaning gutters and raking leaves at Mom, Dad and Jamie’s house. We arrived around 2 that afternoon and peeked in at Jamie resting on the couch. I reminded her the nurses instructed her to keep trying to move when able to begin gaining her strength back. Little did I know those were the last words I would speak to her.
We went back to raking leaves and about an hour later Brandy frantically found me, screaming Jamie was unconscious and in respiratory failure. We both entered the house to calm Mom and try our best to get Jamie oxygen until the paramedics arrived. Numerous volunteer paramedics were there in minutes and came from everywhere to help her. They were in their shorts and t-shirts probably raking their own leaves and enjoying a beautiful 75 degree fall afternoon. They entered the house with just masks and gloves with no other concerns but to help Jamie. They sacrificed their own safety and well-being to help her. True heroes!
After trying to stabilize her they decided it was best they get moving to the hospital with me following. Everything afterwards became a blur. I won’t go into any further detail other than I was able to hold Jamie’s hand until the end and Dad’s rehab center allowed me in after visitation hours to tell him the news in person. Each a blessing.
Considering the circumstances, we were able to hold a relatively traditional viewing and burial. Even the weather cooperated. I know Mom and Dad were pleased with how everything was handled and the respect everyone had for each other’s safety. For those of you who couldn’t attend, I have attached some pictures of the picture boards, poem, and 2 framed pictures of Jamie that were in place at the viewing. Please note the pictures were taken in my barn during our small lunch. Next to the commemorative table is a chair dedicated to Jamie that included her Taco Bell cap, favorite Shawn Mendes t-shirt, a ridiculous pink flamingo she loved and pumpkins she was so disappointed in not having the opportunity to carve before Halloween.
The shock of Jamie’s death is passing and reality is setting in. The feeling of emptiness at Mom and Dad’s house is hard to accept but they are pushing through. Dad’s strength seems to be increasing by the day. First it was a feat to take a shower, then walk to the end of the driveway, then to the end of the road and now it’s a 1-mile loop around the block! Each time a little faster and with less breaks and use of a cane Brandy had me purchase. This evening he was going to try the 1-mile loop with a heavy jacket and hunting boots to better prepare for the upcoming hunting season. Although he is scaling back on his amount of hunting, he still plans to give it a try.
Mom has discomfort in her chest and her strength isn’t coming back as quick as Dad’s. However, she is staying in good spirits by keeping up on the yard/flower beds, organizing things in the house and communicating with family and friends often.
Brandy, Maddy and I are hanging in there. For the time being, Maddy is still in school full-time and I’m back to work as normal. Unfortunately, Brandy’s life is anything but normal. She worked over 75 hours this week, is going to school online full time and is scheduled for surgery on December 4 for torn ligaments in her ankle. Upon returning home from work, she strips in the garage and puts her clothes in a plastic tote, covers in a towel and hobbles to a scalding hot shower. She sprays her car with Lysol and keeps her doors open to let in air out then dumps her clothes in the washer. She has a black and blue ring around her face from the N95 mask she wears 16 hours a day and her ankle is swollen like a grapefruit. She is a true superhero and this is her norm for who knows how long.
Thank You all for the continued thoughts and prayers. Here is my prayer to you:
As many have prayed for my family over the past month, I now pray for yours. I pray you make smart decisions through the holidays as COVID-19 cases continue to climb. I pray you choose the health and safety of your loved ones, yourself or even strangers over large careless gatherings. I’m not trying to push an agenda nor am I a conspiracy theorist. I’m like many of you. I pray you don’t see your loved one on the couch looking like death. I pray you don’t hear them fight to breathe while on oxygen as they tell you they love you and not to worry. I pray you don’t have to answer the doctor when you are asked for your loved one’s code status as they are being placed on a ventilator. I pray you don’t have to see your sister struggle to breathe then hold her hand as her heart stops. This virus is real. If you don’t believe me or want more details please call or better yet stop by my place. I have a big yard and a fridge full of beer. My mom was adamant that I indicate in my sister’s obituary that she died from COVID. She wanted those who read it to know it’s real and killing even the young. I pray you don’t have to talk to an ICU nurse as she holds back tears while disclosing to you the condition of your dad in one room and your sister in the next. Each fighting for their lives. Above all, I pray for the health care workers who are absolute HEROES!! I pray they stay healthy, don’t get burned out and never have to decide who lives and who dies.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Local activists are questioning the decision of a veteran Ohio SWAT deputy to fatally shoot a 23-year-old Black man as he arrived at his home on Friday afternoon.
Family members and activists say Casey Christopher Goodson Jr., 23, was carrying a Subway sandwich and was on his way back from the dentist’s office when he was shot in the back three times by a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy who is a SWAT member and assigned to a U.S. Marshal’s office fugitive task force.
Columbus police, who are investigating the shooting, had not publicly identified the deputy, a 17-year-veteran, as of 2 p.m. Sunday. Goodson’s identity was confirmed Sunday afternoon — more than 48 hours after the shooting.
“Casey was 23 years old, he never had any type of crimes. He was good, he worked at the Gap, he loved his family,” Heather Johnson, a family friend, told The Dispatch of the USA TODAY Network on Sunday. “He just enjoyed being a big brother and enjoyed being with his family. He loved them very much.”
Peter Tobin, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio, said at a press conference that a fugitive task force that included marshals and Franklin County Sheriff’s SWAT members had just finished an unsuccessful search for a suspect on Friday afternoon when a man drove by, waving a handgun at a sheriff’s SWAT deputy.
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Tobin said the SWAT deputy went to confront the man about the gun waving. The man was already out of his vehicle and was told to drop his gun, a command heard by at least one witness, Tobin said.
When the man with the gun did not drop his weapon, Tobin said, the deputy shot him. The man, who was not the target of the original fugitive raid, was transported to OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, where he later died.
A handgun was recovered, Tobin said, but he did not say from where.
Tobin said he believed the shooting was justified. He said the Columbus police Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) will conduct an investigation that will be reviewed by the Franklin County prosecutor’s office. The matter also will be presented to a county grand jury for consideration.
Activists say Tobin’s narrative did not mention that Goodson was shot in the back or his family’s statement that he had a concealed-carry permit for the handgun.
“This was not justified,” Johnson said of the shooting. “He didn’t pose a threat at all.”
Aramis Sundiata, executive director of the People’s Justice Project, said Goodson was just living his life.
“He had a family … and was living his life as a person and was shot down by the police,” he said.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s office declined to comment on the incident, citing the Columbus police CIRT investigation. However, the sheriff’s office tweeted that the deputy was a 17-year veteran of the office and assigned full-time to the U.S. Marshal Task Force. The tweet also stated that “the suspect’s weapon was recovered at the scene.”
Racism is a declared public health crisis in 145 cities and counties across 27 states:Now what happens?
The People’s Justice Project shared a post from someone indicating that they are Goodson’s cousin and copying a post from his mother’s Facebook page. The post reads that her son was shot in his back three times.
She said he had food in his hands, was unlocking the door and walking inside his home when he was shot with his hands up.
About 40 people attended a Saturday night vigil for Goodson, hosted by the People’s Justice Project. They are demanding that officials release body camera footage, police reports and conduct both an independent autopsy report and an independent prosecutor’s investigation, according to the People’s Justice Project’s Facebook page.
Sheriff’s office spokesman Marc Gofstein said the sheriff’s office does not have body cameras.
Goodson’s sister has organized an online fundraiser for her brother’s funeral costs on GoFundMe. It has exceeded its $9,000 goal.
Kaylee Harper, who started the fundraiser, posted on her Facebook page that police are lying.
A fatal shooting over loud music. Oregon activists demand ‘stronger policies that protect Black lives’
“My brother literally walked across the yard, walked into the back fence to get to the side door, had his Subway (sandwich) and (COVID) mask in one hand keys in the other, unlocked and opened the door and stepped in the house before (police shot) him,” Harper wrote.
“If he was such a threat,” she wrote, “why did you wait so long to shoot?!”
She later posted a photo of her brother’s concealed-carry license.
A bride and groom in the United States have opened up about the “scary” experience of having their wedding turn into a superspreader event, warning other couples to think twice about getting hitched during a pandemic.
Mikayla and Anthony Bishop were among the 32 people at their wedding who ended up infected with coronavirus, with all three of their grandparents that attended also testing positive.
The newlyweds, from the US state of Ohio, told local station WLWT they had cut their October 31 wedding down from 200 to just 83 guests, also providing masks and hand sanitiser bottles with the slogan “spread love not germs”.
But Mrs Bishop sensed something wasn’t right as she walked down the aisle and noticed a worrying detail.
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“My big moment, honestly, was right when the ceremony started and the doors opened and both my parents walked me down the aisle,” she said.
“The first thing I see is I see everyone’s face. And that’s when I realised, wow nobody’s wearing a mask.
“When I saw everyone not wearing masks I was just like, ‘Oh, well I guess we’re just gonna kinda go with it I guess’,” Mr Bishop added.
They now believe the “turning point” when the wedding becoming a superspreader event was at the reception.
Despite socially distancing guests at their tables, people came into close contact when the music started playing.
“That’s what was maybe the superspreader … the dancefloor,” Mrs Bishop said. “Everyone is in each other’s space and there’s no masks.”
The couple had to cut their honeymoon short after they began receiving phone calls to say their guests had tested positive.
They also began developing symptoms and were diagnosed with COVID-19, with Mr Bishop losing his sense of taste and smell while Mrs Bishop became very ill.
Mrs Bishop said they felt guilty about what had happened, with two of their three grandparents that got coronavirus ending up in the emergency department.
“What’s crazy is that our grandparents were the only ones that wore a mask the whole time. They actually wore their mask except for when they were eating their dinner,” she said.
The couple decided to go public with their story to warn others of the dangers weddings posed.
“Weddings are definitely scary right now. I didn’t think that almost half of our wedding guests were gonna get sick,” Mrs Bishop said.
“You’re in the moment. You’re having fun. You don’t think about COVID anymore.”
‘OBNOXIOUS AND IRRESPONSIBLE’
It’s not the only wedding in the United States that turned into a superspreader event with an October 17 event in New York labelled “obnoxious” after it forced the closure of multiple schools after dozens got infected.
The wedding at Long Island’s North Fork Country Club was attended by 113 guests, more than double the current cap for these types of events, the New York Post reports.
A total of 41 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in connection with the wedding while 159 people had to complete two weeks of isolation.
Multiple schools in the local area have also been forced to close after more than five positive cases were linked to them.
The venue now has to pay more than $US30,000 ($A41,250) in fines, with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo saying it had been “obnoxious and irresponsible – not to mention illegal”.
Another wedding held in the US state of Maine resulted in more than 175 coronavirus infections and seven deaths.
The August 7 nuptials saw more than 65 guests attend the reception at Big Moose Inn, exceeding the state’s limit of having just 50 people present at weddings.
Subsequent inspections by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reportedly found tables in the inn were not sufficiently spaced apart and staff not wearing masks.
Local station News Center Maine reported guests at the wedding had not worn masks or socially distanced from each other, despite signage telling them to do so.
Crucially, the inn also did not collect contact tracing information from guests.
Multiple outbreaks in Maine were later connected to the wedding reception, including one at an aged care facility, Maplecrest Rehabilitation Center, where 39 people were infected and six people died of coronavirus.
There was also more than 70 confirmed cases at York County Jail linked to the wedding, with Fox News reporting a staff member there had attended the reception.
An Ohio wedding attended by 83 guests has become the latest superspreader event in which nearly half of attendees contracted COVID-19.
The recent nuptials resulted in 32 people catching the virus – including the couple, Anthony and Mikayla Bishop, and three of their grandparents, two of which needed emergency care.
The couple told their local news station in Ohio, NBC-affiliated television station WLWT, that they had taken precautions for their big day.
With a local rise in cases, they opted to significantly reduce their guest list down from 200.
They said hand sanitiser and face masks were also distributed at the event – but apart from the couple’s grandparents, very few people took up the offer, even during the close contact dancing at the reception.
Mikayla said she was surprised that people caught coronavirus at her wedding.
She said: “I didn’t think that almost half of our wedding guests were gonna’ get sick.
“You’re in the moment. You’re having fun. You don’t think about COVID anymore.”
This is not the first time a wedding in a US state has been responsible for an outbreak of the virus.
Events in Washington State,New York and Minnesota have led to mass virus spread.
One wedding in Maine led to 176 people contracting coronavirus – seven of whom died.
Mikayla said she started displaying symptoms while on honeymoon in North Carolina.
The newly married couple decided to cut their holiday short after receiving a call that their grandparents were unwell with the virus.
The 31 October event comes as states across the US see a sharp rise in coronavirus cases and overwhelmed hospitals have led officials to impose new restrictions on indoor businesses and schools.
The state of Ohio is one of several where cases have surged the past two weeks – increasing from 221,000 on 2 November to 305,000 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
It now faces a curfew in an attempt to curb this rise in cases.
In voices both strained with emotion and seemingly hardened with trauma, they stepped forward – cautiously, with trepidation – to level their allegations: that Mearan, a former Portsmouth, Ohio, city councilman and still-practicing attorney, trapped them in a cycle of drug abuse and sexual servitude.
They told their stories to agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. To FBI investigators. To journalists with The Cincinnati Enquirer, part of the USA TODAY Network. The worst that came of it were the convictions of eight defendants who pleaded guilty to drug charges – and none of those eight were Mearan.
On Friday, everything changed. After decades of rumors and investigations, Mearan was arrested on human trafficking, racketeering and related charges. He was expected to be arraigned in Scioto County Common Pleas Court on Monday.
Mearan, 74, has denied having anything to do with trafficking, prostitution or drugs.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said otherwise.
“If Dante were around, he’d invent an eighth circle of hell for this guy,” he told The Enquirer late Friday, hours after Mearan was arrested outside his Portsmouth office on 18 felony charges.
“His victims were utterly powerless. One of the problems with this case is everyone thought Mr. Mearan was untouchable. The victims were reluctant to come forward because they thought nothing would ever happen to him, but something could happen to them.”
Some women did come forward, however – including Heather Hren, who spoke with Enquirer reporters for an investigation that ran in two parts published in March 2019 and September 2019. She said Mearan had arranged for her to have sex with a Cincinnati doctor for $200 and arranged for a probation officer to take nude photos of her, among other allegations.
Mearan, she said, “trafficked me to his friends or pimped me out.”
Hren was one of 10 women initially interviewed by The Enquirer last year, most of whom asked that their names not be published. The newspaper also pored through hundreds of investigative documents, including arrest and court records, and interviewed an additional 50 people for the project.
Here’s what the women alleged: Mearan, as a prominent attorney, would represent women facing drug charges. The lawyer promised them lenient sentences from judges he knew and parole officers willing to ignore probation requirements, but there was a catch: The women had to agree to have sex for money.
The sexual liaisons allegedly occurred in Portsmouth, Cincinnati and Columbus, but also outside Ohio. The Enquirer was told of sex-for-money trips to New York, New Jersey, Louisiana and Florida.
The women were paid $200 to $2,000 per encounter, and in some of the instances, Mearan himself handled the payment, they said.
The Enquirer interviewed Mearan twice during the investigation. He consistently denied the allegations. At one point he said he didn’t know what a sex trafficker was and asked for a definition.
Mearan’s home was raided this spring, a year after the newspaper’s initial report, by agents with the Ohio Bureau of Investigation. At the time, Mearan told reporters that any investigation into him would be fruitless because he led a “boring life.”
The Enquirer’s investigation began after the newspaper obtained a federal wiretap affidavit which had been filed under seal with the Southern District of Ohio. The 80-page affidavit, filed in August 2015 by DEA Senior Special Agent Keith Leighton, said Mearan had been “known to law enforcement” in Portsmouth since the 1970s.
The agent linked Mearan to 27 women who worked for him as prostitutes, including two believed to have been met with foul play – one woman was dead with “multiple traumas” in 2013, and another, Megan Lancaster, has been missing since April of that year.
Lancaster, who was 25 when she was last seen, kept names and phone numbers in color-coded notebooks that her sister-in-law, Kadie Lancaster, compiled and showed The Enquirer last year. The entries included notations like “dance for” and “men who give money.” Mearan’s name and number appeared alongside both notations.
Kadie Lancaster said she was tagged in a post on Facebook on Friday evening with the news that Mearan had been arrested. She said she never thought it could happen.
“The whole thing was just surreal,” she said. “I just couldn’t believe it had finally came to a head.”
Megan Lancaster was last seen in Wheelersburg, an Ohio River city of about 6,000 residents about 10 miles west of Portsmouth. Saturday was her 33rd birthday.
Linda Mills, 35, was one of the accusers featured in The Enquirer’s investigation. She said she was promised a modeling contract by a former Scioto County Sheriff’s deputy, only to be sex-trafficked at age 15. She described being forced to have sex with multiple men, getting addicted to drugs and becoming pregnant in 2003. The baby, born in 2004, was put up for adoption, she said.
Told Friday of Mearan’s arrest, she started to cry.
“No one’s ever believed me,” said Mills, her voice thick with tears. “I just wish I could look him in the face and all of the other ones and say: ‘Look at what you’ve done. Look at what you’ve caused.’”
Mills described conflicting emotions, saying she felt both blessed that Mearan finally faced charges, but adding, “I’m so angry.” She said Mearan was protected for years by high-profile lawyers, judges and officers.
“Why are you protecting this man?” she asked. “Because you’re part of it and no one wanted to listen to people.”
Mearan is lodged in the Scioto County Jail. The prosecution is a joint effort between Yost’s office and Scioto County Prosecutor Shane Tieman.
According to the Supreme Court of Ohio’s attorney services office, Mearan’s registration is active. He was admitted as an attorney in 1971 after graduating from Ohio State University and passing an exam. His listing indicates he has no record of disciplinary problems, nor of administrative sanctions and suspensions.
Mearan operates his own law firm, the website for which describes him as accomplished, humble and passionate and says he “has created quite the reputation for himself during his years of practice.”
The 18 felony charges Mearan faces include human trafficking and compelling prostitution. They stem from activity between 2003 and 2018 involving six women. If convicted of all charges, he faces more than 70 years in prison.
Yost said now that Mearan has been charged, other victims may feel safe enough to come forward. He said he was impressed by the six women who are already a part of the case for their strength and resilience.
“When we called today and went around and talked to them to let them know … there was a deluge of tears,” Yost said. “They never thought it would happen.”
A police officer in the Cleveland suburb of Pepper Pike, Ohio, captured the moment Goostov the goose kept up with a local cyclist. Scott Klement, the cyclist in the video, commented, “Thanks for sharing. Pepper Pike police are the best, Goostov gives them 5 honks!” Another commenter said he had recently gone kayaking with Goostov. Credit: Pepper Pike Police Department via Storyful
FROM THE car park of a desultory Dollar General shop in Lordstown, a declining corner of north-east Ohio, not much suggests a presidential campaign at full blast. A few plastic Halloween decorations flap in the breeze. Passing customers say they pay little heed to politics. Shane Edwards, in a green mask, admits he forgot to cast a ballot in 2016. He had planned to vote for Donald Trump, who took Ohio by eight points in any case. Grey-haired Rose says she always voted Democratic, then switched when Mr Trump showed up. She has “no idea” what to do this time, but will probably ask her husband.
Places such as Lordstown are mostly home to blue-collar workers who, like Rose, have shed their old loyalty to Democrats but are wary of committing themselves again to Mr Trump. Rose’s doubts are mostly over the pandemic. She does not think the president has handled it well. She worries, too, about her disability payments and care for veterans. Her county, Trumbull, saw a huge swing to Mr Trump in 2016, when voters took against Hillary Clinton. Yet Democrats won back much support in mid-term elections two years ago. And Joe Biden, who makes much of his working-class roots in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is again making it a closer race.
Mr Biden’s fortunes in Ohio have soared in recent weeks. A Republican strategist talks of colleagues startled by internal polls that point, after months of Mr Trump being ahead, to an almost tied race. Some recent public ones have even put Mr Biden just in front. Our own forecast still gives Mr Trump a slightly better chance of winning, but his prospects have dipped sharply. Mr Biden, meanwhile, is buying more television advertising in the state (just as Mr Trump is buying fewer) and paid a brief visit there, by train, last week.
For much of the past year Mr Trump had banked on Ohio, where rural voters, non-college ones, Catholics and the former coal-mining areas of Appalachia were solidly behind him, and a strong local operation reliably gets out the vote. The state is big, with 18 electoral-college seats, and more Republican-leaning than most of the Midwest. That makes it indispensable. No Republican has ever become president without it. Its record as a bellwether is unmatched. In 29 of the past 31 elections, whoever won Ohio won the White House.
The trouble for Mr Trump is that the most populous and fastest-growing parts of the state increasingly favour his rival. Mr Biden does not need to win back all the lost support in places like Lordstown if he can pile up votes in cities and suburbs, especially in big counties around the “three Cs”: Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland.
The activity of Abby Wimbiscus Black, a music teacher in Delaware County, a former Republican stronghold in central Ohio, north of Columbus, is emblematic of this. A party strategist calls her area the “frontier” of the election battle. Her tiny garden is crammed with eight signs for Mr Biden and other Democrats; a colourful knitted scarf is draped round a tree, with a message urging all to vote. Biden and BLM signs have sprouted on nearby lawns. Each night Mrs Wimbiscus Black writes 30 postcards to would-be voters across Ohio. She also texts, phones and posts online. She moved there a year ago from Columbus, part of an exodus of liberal-minded, young, urban folk (notably college-educated women) spilling out to suburbs and smaller cities as bigger ones get more costly.
Paul Beck at Ohio State University calls Mrs Clinton’s rotten showing in 2016 an “anomaly”. Democrats have been quietly gaining, he says, for example in state-legislative elections in suburbs near Columbus. The re-election of a Democratic senator, Sherrod Brown, two years ago points to wider strength. He cites a poll from late September, by Fox, showing Mr Biden with a ten-point lead in Ohio’s suburbs.
What explains the recent surge? Some moderates may be swayed by a former governor, John Kasich, who has endorsed Joe Biden. Older voters, like Rose, are dismayed by the coronavirus. Many women despise Mr Trump’s personal style. A party strategist says the president did so disastrously in the first debate he can’t recover. Spending on ads by Mr Biden, and the scarcity of Trump ones, could be making a difference. And local Republicans’ notably swampy behaviour does not help: Larry Householder, the Republican speaker of Ohio’s House, was arrested and indicted for racketeering in July.
Kyle Kondik, who wrote a book on Ohio’s influence on presidential elections, says Ohio is more competitive again. Yet he doesn’t think it matters, for the national contest, whether Mr Biden pulls off a victory there—a close race would be good enough for him. A Republican strategist agrees, calling Ohio the “head and neck” of the Midwest: as long as Mr Trump must scramble to avoid losing there, his prospects of crucial victories elsewhere in the region, in Michigan, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, look vanishingly small. Mr Biden, in contrast, could triumph even if Ohio remains tantalisingly just out of reach. ■
Hundreds waited in line at election boards as early voting began in Ohio on Tuesday, October 6, with the state seen as a potential swing state for the US Presidential Election, according to the Associated Press. Video shows long lines zigzagged around a building and parking lot near the Franklin County Board of Elections office in Columbus, Ohio. Long lines were reported across the state, including in Montgomery County. Most poll locations were reportedly open weekdays from 8 am until 5 pm. Polls will also be open the two weekends before the November 3 election day, the Ohio Secretary of State said. Credit: @gage_limbach via Storyful