News Story

Ivy League Public Health Dean Praises Michigan With False Ohio COVID Claim

Ohio put in place a curfew, among other ongoing rules

Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, claimed on Twitter recently that Michigan was doing better since November in preventing the spread of the coronavirus because Ohio did not impose any restrictions.

The claim is not accurate.

Jha identifies himself on Twitter as a “Physician, researcher, advocate for the notion that an ounce of data is worth a thousand pounds of opinion.”

Jha’s post was one in a series on Dec. 12 claiming that the pandemic-related lockdowns and social restrictions imposed by the state of Michigan’s health department had slowed the spread of the disease, while Ohio did nothing.

His tweet stated:

But Ohio has also imposed a broad range of pandemic-related restrictions.

On Nov. 19, the Ohio health department issued a stay-at-home order, which remains in effect, for the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Ohio residents are only allowed to leave their homes after 10 p.m. for specific exceptions, including health and safety reasons, getting necessary supplies and services and working or taking care of others.

The 10 p.m. curfew has been extended until Jan. 2.

And on Nov. 13, Ohio's health department extended restrictions, already in place, that resemble Michigan’s face mask mandate for retail stores and other businesses. Ohio also limits bars to a group size of no more than 10 people and established a six-foot social distancing requirement between groups in all restaurants and bars.

The news site MLive repeated Jha’s tweets, using them as the basis for a Dec. 16 story.

MLive reported:

“So what happened?

‘Michigan put in restrictions. ... Ohio did not,’ Dr. Ashish K. Jha, Dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, wrote in a Dec. 12 Twitter post. The diverging trendlines ‘tell the story perfectly,’ he added.”

On the day Jha made his case, Ohio had 11,252 confirmed new COVID-19 cases. After this date, the number of daily new cases in that state dropped to 9,266 (Dec. 13) and 7,875 (Dec. 14) and then rose to 8,755 (Dec. 15) before falling again to 5,413 (Dec. 16.), according to

Michigan has had more daily COVID deaths than Ohio for months, and it continues to see a death rate that is 50% higher than its neighbor. This was not mentioned by Jha or in the MLive article.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.