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Michigan Legislature convenes to address COVID-19 response

Legislature to vote on bill that would repeal law that gives governor emergency powers

LANSING, Mich. – Both the State House and Senate will be in session on Friday to do two things.

The first, form a joint committee to oversee and question the state’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

April 23, 2020 -- Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 35,291; Death toll now at 2,977

“We’ve received thousands of phone calls,” House Speaker Lee Chatfield said. “From people around our state who are frightened. Who are frustrated because they can’t get unemployment benefits they’ve been promised. Or because they’ve had their livelihoods taken away, or they’re being told they can’t work a job and take care of their family.”

The second, a vote in both chambers on a bill that would repeal the 1945 law that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said gives her emergency powers.

That move is symbolic. Whitmer can just veto it. But it does show the rising tensions between the governor and GOP-controlled legislature over the COVID-19 response.

Both chambers have already released plans detailing how to reopen Michigan’s economy in stages. We have not seen one from the governor, but will likely get an idea of some of her plans on Friday.

MORE: Michigan governor looking at next week to roll out plan for reopening state

There has been considerable pushback on some of the sweeping executive orders she has issued. Appearing on MSNBC she addressed the crisis.

“So what I’ve tried to communicate to the people of Michigan is that we are going to look to reengage in waves. We’re going to have to be really strategic about it," Whitmer said.

MORE: What the CDC says you should do if you believe you have coronavirus (COVID-19)

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 & 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.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

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.


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