Shirkey Criticizes Whitmer’s COVID-19 Response Amid Surge of New Cases, Hospitalizations

State Sen. Mike Shirkey, who says the state was being “overtly mandated and restrained across the board” last year, says the governor is being inconsistent in her approach. Whitmer has said further measures aren’t needed due to vaccines.

The state’s top elected Republican is criticizing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over her response to this latest wave of COVID-19.  

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) says the governor has been inconsistent with her approach.    

“Last year when we were being I believe overtly mandated and restrained across the board it was all under the guise of ‘follow the science,’” he says. “Now that numbers are worse than they were last year must be the science changed.”    

Whitmer and state public health officials have said further mitigation measures aren’t needed due to the effectiveness and availability of vaccines.   

Speaking on the Jackson TV program “The Bart Hawley Show,” Shirkey says he’s against vaccine mandates.  

“Now the state should be doing exactly as I outlined: be honest and inform, inspire, encourage, then trust people. Don’t try to coerce. Don’t try to mandate. Don’t try to force.”  

Shirkey has not publicly admitted whether he’s vaccinated and has openly said he doesn’t need to be because he has natural immunity “forever” following a COVID-19 infection last year. Doctors still recommend people get the vaccines and a booster even if they’ve already had the disease.   

Shirkey says his business Orbitform is going through a coronavirus outbreak. Employees have been off for about a week and a half and people who can are working remotely. 

Michigan continues to be one of the worst states for COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.   

Over the past five days, the state health department says Michigan is averaging over 5,000 new COVID-19 infections per day. The number of hospitalizations is at its pandemic peak, with nearly 4,200 people needing medical care. State health data show over 70% of the people hospitalized with the coronavirus in Michigan are not vaccinated.  

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  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.