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Whitmer offers sympathy, hope after Michigan’s 8,000th COVID-19 death

The governor asked Michiganders to bear down on preventing the illness while waiting for a vaccine
Gretchen Whitmer holds a press conference on COVID-19 in Michigan.
Gretchen Whitmer holds a press conference on COVID-19 in Michigan.(source: State of Michigan)
Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 4:57 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer offered a message of sympathy and hope as Michigan passed the milestone of 8,000 COVID-19 deaths on Monday.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported a total of 55 more coronavirus deaths on Sunday and Monday, pushing the statewide total to 8,049. Nearly 20,000 more COVID-19 illnesses since Friday pushed the statewide total to nearly 265,000.

In a statement issued Monday afternoon, Whitmer encouraged Michiganders to follow the stiffened coronavirus orders her administration issued over the weekend. She believes they will reduce the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths statewide.

Here is Whitmer’s statement on the increase in deaths and avoiding coronavirus:

"I want to express my deepest sympathies to all Michiganders who have lost a loved one to this virus. We all owe it to them to take this seriously so we can save more lives and protect each other. We must all choose to take action against COVID-19 and get through this together.

"As the weather gets colder, we must continue to listen to medical experts and join forces to fight COVID-19. We beat this virus in the spring by listening to the public health experts, and we can beat it again. Yesterday, my administration issued an epidemic order that limits indoor gatherings where COVID-19 can easily spread from person to person. These steps are what the public health experts say we need to take to avoid overwhelmed hospitals and death counts like we saw in the spring. Doing this will protect the medical workers, first responders, and other essential workers on the front lines. We all have a personal responsibility to follow these laws and to do everything we can to protect one another.

“We still need help from the federal government if we’re going to make it through this winter. It is more crucial than ever that the president, Mitch McConnell, and Nancy Pelosi work across the aisle to pass a bipartisan recovery package that includes more help for unemployed workers, more small business help, more support for locally-owned restaurants and all restaurant workers that are struggling, and more money to safely reopen our schools.”

Whitmer also offered hope, as Moderna released results of its coronavirus vaccine trial on Monday. Data shows the vaccine is 94% effective, which is slightly better than Pfizer’s news last week that its COVID-19 vaccine is about 90% effective.

State and federal health officials expect a coronavirus vaccine to receive Food and Drug Administration approval for use on the general public by early 2021. Here is Whitmer’s statement about the upcoming vaccine:

"There is hope on the horizon. Moderna announced today that their vaccine is highly effective and awaiting approval. This is great news for our families, frontline workers, and small businesses, and Moderna is not alone. Last week, Pfizer announced similar news, with both companies' vaccines showing over 90% efficacy. This is all good news, but it doesn’t mean that we can let our guard down and loosen the safety measures we have made in our daily lives. It’s crucial that we keep our infection rate low so we can save lives and distribute the vaccine as quickly as possible when it’s ready.

“Whether you’re from a city like Detroit or a rural area like Luce County, and whether you’re a Biden Democrat or a Trump Republican, you have a role in this fight. We beat this virus before. Let’s do it again.”

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