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Whitmer and top advisers discuss state's COVID-19 response over past 6 months

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Posted at 10:57 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-22 22:57:01-04

LANSING, Mich. — State officials discussed in a video Michigan’s progress against the coronavirus Tuesday, emphasizing the importance of residents not letting their guard down just yet.

“Michigan was hard hit by COVID-19 early in the pandemic, but because we took quick action and Michiganders did their part to slow the spread of the virus, we are in a much better position than many other states,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “No one wants to end this state of emergency more than I do, but we are not out of the woods yet.”

All 50 states and the federal government have some form of declared emergency as of Tuesday.

But progress toward a vaccine is promising, Whitmer said. “We’re nearing a vaccine, with dozens being tested in humans already, including nine large-scale clinical trials,” she said. “Michigan is making plans to distribute the vaccine, which could be as early as this fall.”

With flu season quickly approaching, officials also worry about the two viruses spreading at the same time.

“A spike in flu-related illnesses could be devastating to our health care system, economy, and overall COVID-19 response,” said Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “As a parent and as a doctor, I encourage all Michiganders to go and get vaccinated to protect themselves and their neighbors from the flu.”

Whitmer has used executive orders during the pandemic, but that hasn’t come without push-back from some residents. But officials say exercising those powers is necessary to protect the state.

“These orders, informed by the best science and data, have been the backbone of Michigan’s response to COVID-19 and have led to some of the lowest COVID-19 levels in the nation,” Chief Legal Counsel Mark Totten said. “Without these powers and the flexibility they give the governor to act, there is no question that thousands of more lives would have been lost.”

“Michiganders are tough,” Whitmer said. “We have gotten through these last six months together, and we will work together and continue to show up and do the hard work we have to do to get out of this pandemic.”

Watch the full video: