LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is requesting federal funding to use the Michigan National Guard during the response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a letter to President Donald Trump’s administration Thursday, Whitmer asked for the aid and said Guard members would help distribute resources, such as food and supplies, to families impacted by the virus.
Whitmer wants Trump to authorize the use of National Guard members under Title 32, United States Code, specifically 502(f).
Doing so would allow “immediate and enduring use of the Michigan National Guard for operational support."
The Guard would work under the governor’s control, while federal funding would be used for pay, benefits and equipment.
“Despite the many challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented, Michiganders have risen to meet the challenge by helping their friends, families, and neighbors in taking proactive steps to mitigate the spread,” Whitmer said in her letter. “My administration has also taken necessary actions to protect families, workers, and businesses against the spread of COVID-19. While I am confident in the unconquerable spirit of our citizens and their ability to persevere, COVID-19 is unlike anything we have encountered in our lifetime and we need the help of the federal government.”
Whitmer called on 11 Guard members to help the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services assemble and load personal protective gear Wednesday.
Guard members help with missions both stateside and overseas.
How COVID-19 Spreads
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How easily the virus spreads
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.
Prevention & Treatment
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.