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Ohio lawmaker tells people to ‘STOP GETTING TESTED,’ Twitter explodes

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  • Rep. Nino Vitale, a Republican from Ohio, spoke out against coronavirus testing and the need to wear face masks on social media. 
  • “Are you tired of living in a dictatorship yet? This is what happens when people go crazy and get tested,” he wrote.
  • On Wednesday, his order to “STOP GETTING TESTED” was trending on Twitter.
  • Vitale earned backlash from social media users who were baffled that a politician would make that claim during a pandemic that has sickened nearly 3 million Americans.
  • The congressman’s rhetoric mirrors that of President Donald Trump, who has suggested that the ongoing surge in new cases is a result of more widely available diagnostic testing.
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Nino Vitale, a Republican state representative in Ohio, urged constituents to “STOP GETTING TESTED!” in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

By the next morning, the lawmaker’s controversial missive was echoing across social media and trending on Twitter.

Vitale criticized the state’s government for paying too much attention to new coronavirus cases rather than deaths and recoveries. 

“Are you tired of living in a dictatorship yet? This is what happens when people go crazy and get tested,” Vitale wrote, urging people to stop getting tests because they give “the government an excuse to claim something is happening that is not happening at the magnitude they say it is happening.”

 

On Wednesday, the United States was nearing 3 million coronavirus cases and had surpassed 131,400 deaths. Ohio had reported 58,904 cases and 2,970 deaths, based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The state began experiencing an uptick in new cases in mid-June and recorded its largest single-day jump of 1,597 new infections on July 3, according to Worldometers. After a high of 138 new fatalities on April 29, Ohio has seen a drop in daily deaths.

Nonetheless, Vitale played down the risks of the virus, saying in a July 4 Facebook post that COVID-19 “causes mild to moderate symptoms and in many cases, no symptoms at all,” even though it has killed hundreds of thousands of people. In the same Facebook post, Vitale alleged that people who don’t get vaccinated will be denied medical care and the ability to shop at grocery stores.

It’s true that the US has ramped up testing. After early missteps, the country went from testing about 110,000 people per day on March 29 to about 640,000 on July 4. But experts have pointed to a rising positivity rate from these tests to warn that the infection’s spread is climbing.  

Vitale’s demand that people stop getting tested earned some support on social media, with people commenting that they refuse to get tested or wear face masks. Others, however, were aghast to see “STOP GETTING TESTED” making the rounds in the midst of a pandemic.

Vitale was also critical of Gov. Mike DeWine’s order that mandates the use of face masks in seven high-risk counties that are on “red alert” amid the pandemic. Vitale called it “totally illogical” that DeWine made the announcement on Tuesday but the order doesn’t take effect until 6 p.m. on Wednesday. 

“If this is such an urgent matter, why wait almost 30 hours? They make no sense. Stop listening to these frauds,” Vitale wrote.

Vitale’s recent social media posts echo rhetoric peddled by President Donald Trump who blames the ongoing surge in coronavirus cases on robust diagnostic testing in the US. 

“If we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, actually,” the president said during a June 15 roundtable event for senior citizens.

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