DETROIT – As COVID-19 cases continue surging in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is being criticized by those who believe she has changed her position about following science recommendations related to the pandemic.
Whitmer made an appearance on Meet the Press Sunday with the show’s host Chuck Todd who asked about whether she has changed her position slightly.
Before she could answer clips were shown of Whitmer speaking at the beginning of the pandemic.
“We got to follow the science and the data and we have to make decisions based on that,” said Whitmer in one clip that was played on Meet the Press.
In another clip that was played she said, “I’m not going to be bullied into not following the science or not doing what I know to be the right thing.”
Then one recent clip was played of Whitmer speaking this month about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggesting that Michigan’s response to rising COVID-19 cases should be to shut things down.
“What might seem like a natural thing to do is much more complicated than what the CDC might suggest when you look at the reality here on the ground,” said Whitmer in the clip.
In response to whether she has changed her position Whitmer told Todd that many things have changed since the start of the pandemic.
“You know fifteen months ago we didn’t know that this virus could be contained by the simple act of wearing a mask. We didn’t have personal protective equipment at our fingertips. We certainly didn’t have the testing, or the vaccines. We’re now in a much different position on top of that,” said Whitmer.
She pointed out that a lot of her coronavirus emergency powers were stripped away by a ruling from the Michigan Republican controlled Supreme Court.
“I don’t have all of the exact same tools. Despite those things, we still have some of the strongest mitigation measures in the country, mask mandates, capacity limitations, working from home. So we’re still doing what we can. But what is really happening on the ground here is we’re moving fast to get shots in the arms. We got a million in two weeks, a million in just the last nine days, so we keep breaking our own records. We’ve got these continued mitigation practices, and I’m working with a smaller set of tools at my disposal and that’s why we really do need and appreciate the additional help that we’re getting from the federal government,” she said.
In response to the issue of Metro Detroit hospital systems being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients Whitmer said everyone has to do their part to help prevent the spread.
“Well at the end of the day this is going to come down to whether or not everyone does their part. That’s the most important thing,” said Whitmer.
On Friday, Michigan reported a total of 8,955 new cases and 40 additional deaths. It was the second highest single-day case total in Michigan since the start of the pandemic. On Nov. 20, 2020 the state reported a total of 9,779 cases, its highest case total to date.
The number of cases went down on Saturday with more than 5,000 reported.
Michigan has extended the COVID-19 order that implemented restrictions on gatherings, restaurants, entertainment venues and more.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has extended its epidemic order through May 24. It also expanded mask requirements to include children ages two to four years old.
Additionally, the COVID-19 B117 is growing quickly here in Michigan.
Whitmer said that this is the time of year people are going on spring break which can contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
“That’s why we’re imploring people to take this seriously, mask up, get tested if you’ve been around someone who is positive, stay home and if you do get COVID-19 use one of these monoclonal antibodies so that we can keep you out of the hospital and help you retain your health,” said Whitmer.
Chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was also on Meet the Press Sunday addressing concerns related to the pandemic. You can watch Sunday’s episode in the video above.