If everyone were wired to do the right thing, we wouldn’t need laws or health orders.

But it’s clear to anyone who ventures from home these days that many, many people are not doing the right thing when it comes to the simple act of wearing masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Ohio.

It’s as simple as wearing sunglasses to protect eyes from bright light.

Pleading and cajoling isn’t working.

Gov. Mike DeWine, it’s time again to mandate masks in Ohio. You did it for one day in late April and reversed yourself before it took effect after blistering attacks from people in your own party.

Shame on those arrogant, pandering fools — elected officials who call themselves leaders but are acting as selfish children.

We were with you, governor, when you first mandated masks, and we believe that if you had stuck to your guns, we would not be watching one county after another turn red on your color-coded Public Health Advisory Alert System chart of coronavirus cases across Ohio.

Your latest move, governor, to require masks only in counties where COVID-19 cases are spiking and have reached a Level 3 or "Red" status, is akin to closing the barn door after the horses have escaped. And this virus is definitely galloping in the wrong direction.

It is illogical and dangerous, if not deadly, to wait for more people to become sick before taking an easy, science-backed step in the direction of preventing disease.

As of Thursday afternoon, you had ordered mandatory public mask-wearing in 12 Ohio counties — including Summit and Cuyahoga — deemed to be at a "Level 3 Public Emergency: very high exposure and spread. Limit activities as much as possible."

Another 35 counties were at Level 2, with the remaining 41 at Level 1.

No Ohio counties had yet reached purple, "Level 4 Public Emergency: severe exposure and spread. Only leave home for supplies and services." But two counties, Butler and Hamilton, were approaching it.

On its face, a commonsense reading of the Level 1 description suggests that prudent people should wear face masks when they could encounter others outside their homes to try to reduce "active exposure and spread."

But we know there are plenty of Ohioans who are not prudent. We see their maskless faces daily in stores, events and gatherings. Many of them likely would mask up if they saw more people doing it.

Some would likely defy even a statewide mandate for public face coverings. Still, the leadership that you, Gov. DeWine, must show by issuing a statewide mask mandate would be sufficient to give the rest of us the nudge we need to do what we have been told is good health practice.

Listen to your own words: "If we can get 75 to 80% of people to wear masks, we can beat this thing down. We will change the fall. We will change the winter."

It’s unfair to shift your responsibility for mandating masks to mayors and city councils and shopkeepers in counties that haven’t hit the red zone yet. And it’s unfair to the people of those counties to have to wait for red to appear before masks do.

Governor, you can ensure that 75-80% compliance with the stroke of a pen. Mandate masks, and it will happen. You say, rightly, "We don’t want to end up like Florida, like Texas. We don’t want to end up on TV like that."

— The Columbus Dispatch