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Gov. Whitmer not backing down after CDC director calls for shutdown

Whitmer said COVID-19 recommendations will continue even after one of the nation’s top health officials said the state needs to close things down due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday that COVID-19 recommendations will continue...
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday that COVID-19 recommendations will continue even after one of the nation’s top health officials said the state needs to close things down due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.(Colton Cichoracki WJRT)
Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 3:54 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said COVID-19 recommendations will continue without more mandated restrictions despite one of the nation’s top health officials saying Michigan needs to close things down due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.

Whitmer spoke exclusively to ABC12 on Tuesday, the day after the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said the state needs to shut things down to flatten the curve.

“At this juncture, I mean the CDC, they are working hard, they’ve got a national perspective. But they don’t know what’s really happening on the ground here in Michigan,” Whitmer said.

She went on to say that conversations continue with health experts and that Michigan is in a much different position with COVID-19 than it was a year ago.

“We have vaccines, we’ve got over 5.2 million shots in arms this week, we’ve gotten over a million of those just in the last two weeks,” Whitmer said. “I mean, this is pretty remarkable what we’re doing on that front.”

Last week, she made a series of recommendations aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan. They include closing high schools for two weeks, pausing youth or school sports for two weeks and advising diners to choose takeout or outdoor seating rather than eating in restaurant dining rooms.

None of those recommendations are official orders, so high schools, sports teams and restaurants can remain open subject to previous orders from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

When asked if last week’s recommendations would be enough to slow the spread, Whitmer said that everyone has to step up and do what they can to make sure they are.

“You know, we are 14 months into this,” she said. “We’re all tired of it -- me included -- and we’re not done though. This virus is not done with us and that’s why it’s on all of us to do what we need to do to protect ourselves and our communities.”

Whitmer reiterated her position last week that the current surge in new COVID-19 cases in Michigan is coming from a compliance issue and not necessarily a policy issue.

“We sill have some of the strictest, most strong protocols in the country,” she said. “It’s not a policy problem, it’s a compliance problem, it’s a variants problem. For a long time in Michigan, we kept our numbers so low. I mean we were the envy of most other states and yet because of that success, now that variants are on the scene that are so much easier to spread, we get reservoirs of people that don’t have antibodies, and that’s why we got to get people vaccinated.”

Whitmer said everyone should get vaccinated as soon as they can and to continue to follow protocols so that the spread of the virus can stop.

“We’ve done a good job,” she said. “We cannot let our guard down now and that’s what appears to be happening. People are tired and they’re losing their will to follow protocols and stay safe and yet right now, it’s more important than ever that we do.”

Michigan reported nearly 9,000 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.

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