(Headline USA) Just in time for Election Day, Michigan’s Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer claimed Wednesday that her state has more confirmed cases of the coronavirus than ever.
She noted a sharp increase since the state Supreme Court rebuffed her sweeping lockdown orders earlier this month, declaring the authoritarian measures unconstitutional.
The number of COVID-19 cases had been gradually rising for months prior to the Oct. 2 ruling, from a seven-day average of 119 in June up to 1,818—nearly double.
But despite the misleading efforts by left-wing media to hype cases, the recovery rate has continued to rise, and the risk of serious health impacts or death have remained low.
Virus-related hospitalizations, roughly 1,000, are double what they were a month ago but about a quarter of the April peak.
After facing considerable backlash, Whitmer had previously loosened economic restrictions and allowed schools to reopen.
But she and other Democrat governors in battleground states have continued to hint at the prospect of politically motivated relapses leading to further lockdowns that could cast the Nov. 3 election into turmoil.
It is unclear whether Whitmer would attempt to close polling places altogether or if she would have the authority to do so.
“These numbers are moving in the wrong direction,” she said during a news conference in which she did not indicate whether another lockdown may be necessary.
“We are in a dangerous moment where there’s the possibility of it just becoming community spread that becomes out of control,” she continued. “We’re seeing that in a lot of our neighboring states. That’s what we’re trying to avoid.”
Also Wednesday, a chiropractor in western Michigan challenged the state’s face covering rule, saying Whitmer’s health department has no authority to make it mandatory.
It is one of the first lawsuits since the Whitmer administration issued new orders following the defeat at the high court.
The suit, filed in the Court of Claims, claims the health agency can regulate gatherings under state law but cannot order masks, which are widely promoted as a way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Semlow Peak Performance Chiropractic in Grand Haven. The Ottawa County health department told the clinic that it must follow the state order.
“We live in a representative republic and are not ruled by one person,” owner Kirk Semlow said. “My business is not a health threat to anyone, and we take appropriate precautions in providing our services to patients.”
Patients are told that masks are optional, though most wear them, attorney David Kallman said.
“It’s the principle of it,” Kallman said. “They just can’t take a statute, which gives a narrow scope of authority, and apply it in 15 other different ways. Go to the Legislature and get a law passed that says people need to wear masks.”
Whitmer’s political appointees in the health department have continued to flout the legal implications, claiming that their “emergency” authority superceded that of the courts and the legislature.
Spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin said the health department is confident that the order is lawful.
Whitmer urged the Republican-led Legislature, which challenged her former executive orders in court after she extended a state of emergency without their input, to “recognize the science and the importance” of the restrictions.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press