Michigan Rep. Justin Amash criticizes Gov. Whitmer’s extended stay-at-home order

Critic claims restrictions are excessive amid evolving coronavirus pandemic

Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan's Third District

DETROIT – Michigan Representative Justin Amash took to Twitter Saturday to criticize Michigan Gov. Whitmer’s extended stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Whitmer announced Thursday that the state’s stay-at-home order would extend until April 30 and include new restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The original order was slated to end on April 14.

MORE: Michigan extends ‘stay home’ order to April 30: What you need to know

The extension of the order imposes stricter limitations on stores to “reduce foot traffic, slow the spread of the coronavirus, and save lives.”

The order was extended after numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases -- and deaths -- continue to rise at a rapid pace throughout the state. Michigan is currently the third most affected state in the U.S.

As of Sunday afternoon, there are 24,638 COVID-19 cases in Michigan and 1,487 virus-related deaths -- and increase of 8,920 cases and 870 deaths in just one week.

Check out more COVID-19 data here.

Though the pandemic continues to escalate in Michigan, critics argue that Whitmer has placed unnecessary restrictions on people and businesses under the extended executive order.

In a series of tweets, Amash calls for Whitmer to “immediately reassess” the order.

Amash argues that Whitmer’s order is going “too far”, after deeming landscaping services, bicycle shops, garden centers and more non-essential amid the pandemic.

Amash says people will grow restless without being able to engage in activities to keep them occupied amid the stay-at-home order. Amash believes this restlessness will negatively impact the virus mitigation process, saying people will begin ignoring “even basic measures, such as social distancing.”

After criticizing her approach, Amash said that he believes Whitmer has good intentions with her response to the public health crisis.

“In a crisis, there’s no way to make things perfect. Government officials face considerable pressure and are bound to make mistakes," Amash tweeted. "I’m confident @GovWhitmer means well, but I encourage her to reconsider her current approach. Bring everyone together to get us safely through this.”

Whitmer has acknowledged the strain that the stay-at-home order places on residents, but cites its importance to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and reopen the economy as early as possible.

“Michigan has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, and we’re still on the upswing. We must continue to do everything we can to slow the spread and protect our families,” said Whitmer. “Data shows that most Michiganders are doing their part by staying home and staying safe. That’s good, but we must keep it up. When we do, we can save lives and shorten the amount of time we’re working through this crisis, which will be good for our families and good for our economy in the long-run. We can also protect critical infrastructure workers like doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, and child care workers. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that people stay home and stay safe.”

MORE: Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s where we stand as of Sunday

Increase in cases doesn’t discredit social distancing

It is important to note that while the number of cases is going up, it does not mean social distancing is not working. People who are testing positive now could have been exposed to the virus several weeks ago, and many people don’t show symptoms for several days.

It will take weeks to see the results of the stay-at-home order and other social distancing measures that have been put in place. Additionally, the state is still reporting results from a backlog of tests.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

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?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

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 and 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.

Read more about coronavirus here.

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.