Michigan Gov. Whitmer Urges Mask Wearing and Social Distancing as Coronavirus Cases Surge

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Image credit: Courtesy of State of Michigan

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says COVID-19-related hospitalizations are up over 60% from 10 days ago, putting a strain on the state’s health care system.

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer is painting a bleak picture as coronavirus infections are surging in the state once again.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says COVID-19-related hospitalizations are up over 60% from 10 days ago, putting a strain on the state’s health care system.

If we continue at the rate we’re going our doctors and nurses will face another PPE shortage like we saw this past spring. We cannot afford to let that happen. These are the people who stayed on the front line for the rest of us. They are the heroes of this pandemic. They need our support. We all need to be heroes,” Whitmer said at a news conference Thursday.

The governor urged everyone to wear a mask and keep their distance from others. 

Unlike the spring when the weather was starting to get warmer, we are now heading into the colder months here in Michigan, which means it’s more dangerous,” says Whitmer. “As more people spend time inside, this is going to get worse.” 

Unless we get our act together right now, we could be hitting our daily peak of deaths in Michigan come Christmas.” — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

The Governor didn’t issue any new restrictions, but she did ask people to not travel for the upcoming holidays. “The more people we have in our homes, talking and eating, drinking, hugging, yelling at the Lions, the higher the risk of catching or spreading this virus. And the higher the risk there is that the people we love will die,” said Whitmer.

Whitmer’s ability to quickly respond to the pandemic was hampered when state Republican leaders challenged her authority to issue emergency orders. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the law she was using to issue those orders was unconstitutional. 

Michigan is hardly alone in this surge of COVID-19 cases. Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio are all facing uncontrolled spread of the disease. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said on Wednesday that restrictions were coming to indoor dining and recreational facilities if infection rates didn’t start dropping. 

Nationwide, there have been over 100,000 new cases announced each day of the past week. The death toll continues to rise as well. 

Try to imagine ten 737 airplanes crashing to the ground every single day. That’s what we’re facing — a 9/11 every three days. No one is safe from this virus,” says Whitmer. 

Without precautions, she says, the worst is yet to come. 

Unless we get our act together right now, we could be hitting our daily peak of deaths in Michigan come Christmas.”

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Russ McNamara, Host, All Things Considered

Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. While working as an audio engineer for ABC Sports, he was sprayed with champagne as the Detroit Pistons celebrated their championship in 2004.

russmcnamara@wdet.org

This post is a part of Coronavirus in Michigan.

101.9 WDET, Detroit’s NPR Station, is committed to providing accurate, up-to-date information on coronavirus, and it's related illness COVID-19, in Michigan. 

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