Here’s Why Whitmer Is Cancelling Events in Michigan Over 250 People

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order today cancelling all events in the state of 250 people. One expert says the goal is to slow the spread, or “flatten the curve,” of new cases entering the health system.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered the cancellation of events and shared assemblages of over 250 people beginning on Friday, March 13, at 5:00 pm through Sunday, April 5 at 5:00 pm, according to a release. 

The dramatic action — along with school closures and companies sending workers home — is part of an escalating response to coronavirus. Twelve cases of COVID-19, the disease resulting from the virus, have been identified this week in Michigan.

“American hospitals do not have enough ICU beds to take care of people if that curve peaks very quickly.” — Meghan O’Rourke, author

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Sishir Buddharaju/WDET
Sishir Buddharaju/WDET

On Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson, author and editor The Yale Review Meghan O’Rourke says that this reflects a growing concern of overloading our nation’s healthcare system. 

“This is about prudence, not panic,” says O’Rourke. We don’t know the full scope of the disease. The worse that could happen at this point is we’re overly prudent and we slow [the spread] down as quickly as we can.”

This relates to a graph recently popularized by many news outlets that originated with the Center for Disease Controls and Prevention. The graph shows how a spike in cases of a disease can exceed the capacity of a localities healthcare infrastructure, leading to overcrowding and a shortage on medical facilities to treat patients. 

By slowing the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19, public health experts hope they can effectively manage patients coming into hospitals and other medical facilities. 

“This is a global pandemic,” says O’Rourke on Detroit Today. “Anyone resisting the idea that we need to think about needs to look at international newspapers to see how real it is.”

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  • Shiraz Ahmed

    Shiraz Ahmed served as Digital and Audience Engagement Editor for 101.9 WDET from 2019-2020. His favorite salsa is Marco’s Mexican salsa, a now-defunct chain that produced the salsa of his childhood.