After inadvertently admitting last week that Michigan’s harsh lockdowns have not deterred the “raging” COVID-19 pandemic, Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said on Sunday she now lacks the “same tools” to enforce such policies. Nevertheless, the governor’s administration proposed more restrictions.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Whitmer told anchor Chuck Todd that she has lost the ability to sustain executive action for lockdown orders.
“I have been sued by my legislature. I have lost in a Republican-controlled Supreme Court,” Whitmer said. “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.”
” … 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 we’re getting from the federal government,” Whitmer said.
In October of last year, Whitmer’s executive orders to grant an extension on COVID-19 shutdown orders were ruled unconstitutional by the Michigan Supreme Court. Justices ruled 6 to 1 that the governor’s decisions to invoke the emergency powers law written in 1945 were unwarranted after a lower court ruled it was “unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch in violation of the Michigan Constitution.”
The Michigan governor lamented the Republican-majority legislature taking action against her on the state orders, but told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Friday that “this virus has come raging back” regardless of restrictions.
“We in Michigan still have smart policies in place,” the governor said. “I don’t currently have all the same powers I did a year ago. But we do still have a mask mandate. We do still have our capacity requirements. And we’ve got some of the strongest protocols in the country, and yet, this virus has come raging back.”
While 25 percent of residents have been vaccinated in Michigan and the mask mandate remains, the state is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. In the past 14 days, there has been an 18 percent increase in cases, a 75 percent increase in deaths, and a 62 percent increase in hospitalizations. An 11:00 p.m. curfew remains in place, while the majority of businesses are limited to 50 percent capacity.
Matt Seely of the Michigan Conservative Coalition told The Federalist that Whitmer “is not using the best science, and people have had their businesses destroyed” due to her decisions to shut down the state. Indeed, a report from last week showed nearly a quarter of small businesses have shuttered their doors, cutting 36 percent of the sector’s jobs.
Lisa Hanlin, who owns Czapski’s Kitchen in Milford, said in an interview Whitmer’s lockdowns have been “horrible for restaurants.”
“This is bullsh-t,” Hanlin said. “We should be 100 percent open. People should be able to have the funerals and the weddings and the things that they want, like the rest of the country is doing — except for New York and California, which are being run by Communists. People come in to eat, and I’ve talked to people — I try not to get political — but everybody has had it. The Republicans and Democrats, I don’t care what party you are in, they’ve had it and people are tired of this. They’re tired of the lies and manipulation, all of it.”
This is not the first virus spike in Michigan. While Whitmer’s orders were ruled unconstitutional in mid-October, the state was already experiencing a resurgence. Cases and fatalities took a nose-dive from Dec. 3 until about March 8. Michigan currently ranks third in the country for COVID-19 test positivity rates, at 15.7 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We’re imploring people to take this seriously, mask up, get tested,” Whitmer said to Todd. “If you’ve been around someone who’s positive, stay home.
Michigan recently expanded its mask-mandate to two-year-olds as part of new restrictions supposedly in place until May 24. The state Department of Health and Human Services claimed the rule is “a good faith effort.” Additional restrictions proposed include having a “COVID-19 safety coordinator” permanently at businesses, and mandating people mask-up even though they have been vaccinated.
“Sadly, Whitmer ordered her Health Department to mirror her lockdowns long after our Supreme Court ruled she was out of line flying solo,” state Rep. Matt Maddock told The Federalist. “She’s stolen a year of education from every child. She’s driven our economy into the ditch. She’s never cared about the law. Now she pretends to care? Lockdowns don’t work. Our numbers prove it. She’s just looking for a scapegoat. Nobody is fooled here. Give the keys back to the legislature. Now.”
Dr. Mark Siegel, a physician at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said on Sunday there “is no medical science” behind Whitmer’s orders. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control, eight in 10 deaths from COVID-19 have been from those 65 and older, and 95 percent have been from those 50 and older. Children one to four years old have been found to have a death rate close to 0.0005 percent.
“[There is] no advantage, no medical science behind it,” Siegel said on Fox News. “Children as young as two years old are very unlikely to be carrying and spreading the virus. First of all, they’re not in high-risk groups, they don’t get very sick from it generally, and then there is the issue of how you’re going to actually impose that.”