DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning to discuss the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the state.
When asked to talk about the current situation in Detroit, Whitmer noted that although the state is taking “aggressive measures” in response to the outbreak, its numbers are rising exponentially.
As of Saturday afternoon, Michigan confirmed 4,650 cases of COVID-19 and reported 111 deaths.
“We’ve got hospitals that are already at capacity. We’re running out of PPE, as well,” Whitmer said. “I’m grateful we got a shipment from FEMA yesterday for 112,000 N-95 masks, but, you know -- we’re going to be in dire straights again in a matter of days.”
Whitmer’s statement follows news that U.S. President Donald Trump approved Michigan’s disaster declaration enabling federal assistance, but not without resistance initially.
Trump criticized Whitmer’s response to Michigan’s outbreak in the media before granting federal assistance to the state amid the rapidly evolving pandemic.
Whitmer also raised complaints about the federal government’s assistance, claiming that states are “bidding against one another” for necessary ventilators and other equipment.
“It’s a frustration point that’s not unique to Michigan, but it is certainly a part of the issue that we’re all confronting,” Whitmer said. “There’s not enough ventilators. We need thousands of ventilators in Michigan. There’s not enough N-95 masks. We’ve got nurses who are wearing the same masks from the minute they show up for their long shift until the end of that shift.”
When asked about her relationship with the federal government, Whitmer expressed the importance of coming together amid the crisis.
“I think everyone at the federal level, and states across the country are working 24/7. This is a challenge,” Whitmer said. "We are not one another’s enemies, the enemy is the virus -- and it is spreading and taking American lives.”
Whitmer reiterated that the outbreak is serious, and encouraged Michigan residents to “do their part” by following the state’s stay at home order.
“People need to understand the seriousness of this issue. This is a novel virus with no cure, no vaccine, highly contagious and it is deadly,” Whitmer said. “No one is immune from this thing; no generation is. And that’s why staying home and keeping this virus from being transmitted from person-to-person is really the best tool we have.”