Whitmer defends COVID surge response, says GOP limited her options
Governor Gretchen Whitmer continued to push back Sunday morning against calls for her to re-impose more COVID-19 restrictions in the face of a third surge. That’s as Michigan has led the nation in new cases per population for two weeks.
Michigan still requires masks, distancing and limits on gatherings, but the governor said on NBC’s Meet the Press that her options to do more are limited, partly due to court decisions.
“I have been sued by my Legislature. I have lost in a Republican-controlled Supreme Court,” she said. “Despite those things, we still have some of the strongest mitigation measures in the country – mask mandates, capacity limitations.”
The Michigan Supreme Court ruled in October that the governor did not have the authority under state law to issue any new emergency pandemic restrictions after April 30, 2020. That’s the last time the Legislature authorized her to use her emergency powers. But the state has issued new emergency orders since then, under the authority of the state health department, including restrictions on restaurants and high schools.
Gov. Whitmer also said people can voluntarily use more stringent precautions than what the state requires.
“At the end of the day, this is going to come down to whether everyone does their part,” Whitmer said. “That’s the most important thing.”
Whitmer has also called for the federal government to redirect more vaccines to Michigan to combat the surge in cases and deaths.
Dr. Anthony Fauci – the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – also appeared on the show. He said shifting more vaccines to Michigan would simply move the risk to other parts of the country.
“If you take vaccines from other places and move them around, you make that place more vulnerable to what’s going on in Michigan," he said. "That’s the reason why you’re not seeing a lot of re-mobilization of vaccines from one state to another."
Fauci said the most effective way for Michigan and other states to address the COVID surge is to mandate more restrictions.