(Headline USA) Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday she has the authority to issue a second stay-at-home order to curb the “spiking” coronavirus if necessary and called a comment by an adviser to President Donald Trump urging people to “rise up” against Michigan’s latest restrictions “incredibly reckless.”
The Democratic governor spoke with Capitol reporters a day after announcing limits amid an alleged surge of COVID-19 cases, despite questionable CDC statistics that count co-morbidities and extenuating health problems fully as coronavirus deaths. She has urged the public to “double down” with precautions to avoid a shelter-in-place order like what was instituted in the spring.
Whitmer responded to a tweet sent Sunday night by Scott Atlas, a science adviser to Trump, who urged people to, “rise up…You get what you accept,” after the governor’s announcement. Trump himself has urged supporters to push Whitmer to reopen the state following virus restrictions, though many rules had been lifted previously.
“It’s just incredibly reckless considering everything that has happened, everything that is going on,” Whitmer said. “We really all need to be focused on the public health crisis that is ravaging our country and that poses a very real threat to every one of us.”
Atlas later tweeted that he “NEVER” would endorse or incite violence.
Under the restrictions that start Wednesday, Michigan high schools and colleges must halt in-person classes, restaurants must stop indoor dining and entertainment businesses such as casinos, movie theaters and bowling alleys must close for three weeks. Gathering sizes also will be tightened.
Whitmer called it a “targeted approach” informed by epidemiologists and public health experts, to the exclusion of other public health and economic concerns.
She renewed her call for the Republican-led Legislature to codify a mask requirement in law in part to send a unified message to the public, calling it “the best weapon we have against our common enemy.” The proposed legislation is opposed by GOP legislative leaders.
She noted that lawmakers enacted laws keeping intact unemployment benefits and addressing other matters after the state Supreme Court’s October ruling striking down a law she repeatedly used to respond to the pandemic, but said her administration can continue largely combatting the pandemic unilaterally under a health law.
“This is precisely the power that one of the justices pointed to in terms of actions we can and should be taking throughout this pandemic,” the governor said.
Asked if the state can do anything to assist closed businesses and their soon-to-be laid-off employees, Whitmer again urged Trump and Congress to enact a relief law. She said she and the governors in a loose “compact” of other Midwest states — Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kentucky — will have a joint media event Tuesday.
In Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan said businesses “are being shut down because of irresponsible behavior in the surrounding communities.”
Whitmer said GOP legislators have been included in calls in which health experts model cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Without aggressive steps now, she warned, Michigan could see 20,000 more deaths by February. The state has reported nearly 8,400 confirmed or probable deaths tied to COVID-19 and about 275,000 cases.
“The restrictions are absolutely necessary right now. The pandemic is out of control. Nurses are at their breaking point, so any help the public can give us would be great,” said Jamie Brown, a critical care nurse from Kalamazoo and president of the Michigan Nurses Association.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.