Skip to content

Your Morning Matters: Coronavirus communications

As Ohio has its worst week for COVID-19 in eight months, Biden's federal vaccine mandate drew quick criticism from Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It’s Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, and I am really grateful for all of the feedback to my column last Thursday about the COVID-19 crisis. From emails to posts on our website to the Facebook comments: I’m encouraged by the discussions. One person accused me, by timing, of being in some cabal with Jimmy Kimmel and Howard Stern and merely opining their “liberal talking points.” That did make me smile. Here’s what some other folks said, in case you missed it:

From our website:

• Bill: “Doesn't ‘my body my choice’ apply here Mark? Liberals can't have it both ways either. If reproductive healthcare should be a right, shouldn't COVID healthcare be the same?”
Me: Check back with me after Texas gets sorted out as well as Ohio’s current attempts to undo Roe v. Wade. 

• Eric: Thank you Mark. It helps me to know I’m not the only one who is more tired of refuse-niks than the pandemic itself.
Me: I had a few folks message me that there’s a silent majority out there. Speak out!

From my email:

• Mary: "When you hear the comments ... filled with ‘I’ and ‘my’ phrases. ‘My rights’ ‘My freedom.’ ‘My children.’ etc. When did we turn into such a society? 50 years ago this would never have happened."
Me: My parents have made the same point — and they were there.

• Maureen: "I am overwhelmed by death and lack of normalcy. I just wish the anti-vaccination and anti-mask people would understand the science."
Me: Ohio had 9,000 new cases Friday! Ignoring science clearly does not work.

From Facebook

• Jim: "Maybe calling a large percentage of the population ‘the problem’ is really your problem, Mark. And I have been vaccinated."
Me: I was playing the Dixie Chicks “Not Ready to Make Nice” while I wrote the column if that helps explain my mindset.

• Michelle: "The other issue is small town, personally owned medical practices with physicians attending school board meetings and dismissing the valid science around things like masks and vaccines."
Me: Like someone at YSU responsible for safe practices there who posts anti-mask/pro-sheep de-wormer stuff on Facebook? It gives those seeking bias confirmation safe haven.

Thanks for the input!  Let’s all go and make today count!

Here's what you need to know about the Mahoning Valley today:

Last week was Ohio's worst week for COVID-19 in eight months — same as the week prior. Nearly 1,500 new hospitalizations and 202 new deaths were reported statewide last week. That's an average 214 hospitalizations per day and 30 deaths per day. At this same time last month, the state reported an average about 91 hospitalizations per day and nearly seven deaths per day.

The state also once again set a new eight-month record for COVID-19 cases in a single day, topping 9,000 new cases on Friday, the most since early January. Reporter Justin Dennis takes a look at the coronavirus trends.

Other matters

This week, Liz Dreier is discussing another recent family outing: "After this year’s beach vacation with a toddler who hated the beach, when Wonder Boy’s mom texted me that she and her husband wanted to take our grandson to his first Canfield Fair, I had my doubts." Mahoning Matters 

Among the leaders featured in today's Business Updates are Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, Casal’s dé Spa & Salon and Ohio Manufacturers’ Association. Mahoning Matters

As the nation marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks this past weekend, Muslim groups are also reflecting on progress in the treatment of American Muslims. Mahoning Matters

The lobby of the Trumbull County Jail is closed to the public after a number of employees contracted COVID-19. WFMJ

The Mahoning County Dog Pound says the amount of dogs they have taken in the past few weeks has tripled. Right now, the pound has about 40 dogs up for adoption. WKBN

While the Youngstown Police Department’s patrol union says salaries, even among its most senior officers, are low in comparison to nearby communities, about one-third of them made more than $70,000 last year when overtime and bonus payments are included. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

News of an impending COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate has Mahoning Valley employers weighing their next steps. The requirement would be enacted through a forthcoming rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that carries penalties of $14,000 per violation. The Business Journal [May encounter paywall.]

Movers and Makers

Beth Kotwis Carmichael, Trumbull County Tourism executive director, said the bureau aims to cater to varying interests of locals and travelers alike. For their efforts the bureau's 2020 Trumbull County Visitors Guide received a 2021 Destiny Award presented by the U.S. Travel Association. Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by Farmers National Bank.

Your comments matter

"So glad our superintendent is letting parents decide what is best for their children. If you want your kid to wear a mask put a mask on them. Then you do not need to worry about the child who isn't wearing one. Because they work so well. 🤣"

— Mischelle Riley, in response to an article on Poland and Newton Falls school administrators' decisions to impose mask mandates following new COVID-19 outbreaks

Registered readers can comment on a selection of our stories, and all readers can comment on stories on our Facebook page. Opinions published here do not reflect the views of Mahoning Matters.

Event of the day

The Northeast Ohio Keyboard Festival — a collaborative between Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music and the University of Akron continues at 7:30 p.m. today with an opening concert at YSU's Bliss Recital Hall. Click here for more information on the festival.

To see what else is going on around the Mahoning Valley, check out Mahoning Matters’ event calendar here, or click the Events tab on the top menu at

Story tips

Is there a story you think we should know about? Please tell us at

Let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful for you. Send your ideas and thoughts to If you like this email, please forward it to friends who might also find it useful and/or contribute to Mahoning Matters in order to support local news.

Mark Sweetwood

About the Author: Mark Sweetwood

Mark Sweetwood has spent 37 years working in the local news business. For more than a decade, he served as managing editor of The Vindicator. He also teaches journalism at YSU.
Read more