Gov. Whitmer: There are enough Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths to fill Fox Theatre

Officials confirm 4,825 coronavirus-related deaths in Michigan

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at her May 15, 2020, coronavirus (COVID-19) briefing. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer emphasized the serious threat still posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) by comparing the number of the state’s deaths to the capacity of the Fox Theatre.

As of Friday, 4,825 deaths have been linked to the coronavirus in Michigan. The state also went over 50,000 total confirmed cases Friday, at 50,079.

The latest update comes a day after protesters took to the state Capitol and rallied against Whitmer’s extended stay-at-home order. It was the third such protest in the span of one month.

“I know many people in our state are feeling frustrated,” Whitmer said. “Some are scared. Some are angry. That’s understandable, but now is not a time for division for hatred, certainly not a time for violence. Now is a time for us to pull together. Now is a time for unity.”

Despite the protests, as well as legal threats from state legislators and a congressman, Whitmer is standing by her executive orders, which keep Michigan under a state of emergency and a stay-at-home order until May 28.

READ: Whitmer says gatherings of 10 people could be allowed on May 28

During her Friday briefing, Whitmer tried to emphasize that the coronavirus is still a threat to Michigan.

“I’ve been thinking about, ‘How can we drive home the story that is happening here, the stories that are not going to be called 5,000 lost lives?’” Whitmer said. “I want you to imagine as though you are standing on the stage of the Fox Theater in Detroit, which holds over 5,000 people. You look at that stage, and you know that nearly every empty chair represents a lost loved one, someone here in Michigan, someone with a story, someone with children or parents, someone with colleagues.

“These are people that were part of the fabric of our state. It’s so easy to look past this loss if it hasn’t hit close to home. It’s crucial for us to remember the families across Michigan who are still dealing with unbearable, unthinkable loss.”

Whitmer introduced religious leaders from around the state to speak and pray for unity.

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.