Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

What You Need To Know About Gov. Whitmer’s Benchmarks to Ease COVID-19 Restrictions

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Image credit: State of Michigan

Craig Mauger of The Detroit News says in order for Michigan’s “Vacc to Normal” plan to be successful, more residents need to get vaccinated.

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This week Gov. Gretchen Whitmer introduced the “Vacc to Normal” plan, a four-step process detailing the vaccination rates needed to lift corresponding state restrictions. Most notably, she announced all orders on masks and gatherings would be lifted once the state reaches 70% of adult residents vaccinated. While this provides a ray of hope for the state after record-high case rates, it’s unclear yet whether this will convince vaccine-hesitant Michiganders.

We are not done with the virus. Public health experts I spoke with earlier this week wouldn’t even rule out the possibility of a fourth statewide surge.” —Craig Mauger, The Detroit News

Listen: What the “Vacc to Normal” plan says about vaccinations and restrictions.


Craig Mauger covers state government and politics for The Detroit News. He says Whitmer’s plan will lift restrictions based on vaccination progress. ”Right now we are at about 50% of Michigan residents have had their first dose of the vaccine … or about 4 million people. Whitmer’s plan is four phases; once we hit 55% of adults vaccinated, she is going to allow in-person work at businesses.”

Mauger says these benchmarks can only be reached if there is a steady rate of vaccinations. ”There are real concerns about if we can get to that number of (vaccinated residents), I think we could reach 55% by next week … in the next two weeks it’ll be interesting to see if it affects the pace we see this happening.” 

The strain between Whitmer and the Michigan GOP has affected past state COVID-19 protocols, but Mauger says, “I think they’re in a better place than a few months ago … I think the relationship changes week to week and day to day. I think it will come to a head during (incoming budget talks).”

Mauger says in order to hit the plan’s benchmarks, people need to get vaccinated and continue being cautious. ”We are not done with the virus. Public health experts I spoke with earlier this week wouldn’t even rule out the possibility of a fourth statewide surge,” he says.

Web story written by Nora Rhein

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