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Michigan Gov. Whitmer says strong COVID-19 actions have paid off, but will take economic toll

Gretchen Whitmer shares thoughts in in Washington Post Opinions

In this photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., Thursday, May 7, 2020. Whitmer said that auto and other manufacturing workers can return to the job next week, further easing her stay-at-home order while extending it through May 28 because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, Pool)
In this photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., Thursday, May 7, 2020. Whitmer said that auto and other manufacturing workers can return to the job next week, further easing her stay-at-home order while extending it through May 28 because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, Pool)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post saying she believes strong actions against the coronavirus (COVID-19) have paid off, though the crisis will take an economic toll on the state.

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“Since the first positive cases of COVID-19, Michigan has been aggressive to slow the spread of the virus,” Whitmer wrote. “Governors in other states, such as Ohio, Illinois, Maryland, Wisconsin, New York and many others, have also taken the lead, and our actions are starting to pay off. But this crisis will damage states’ budgets for years to come, threatening everything from education to public safety to health care.”

Whitmer said the coronavirus and the economic issues won’t stop at party lines. She called for Republicans and Democrats to come together and pass a plan to help states recover.

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“In Michigan, we have been working around-the-clock to protect our families and the heroes on the front lines of this crisis," Whitmer wrote. “For many weeks we have had the nation’s third-highest number of deaths, despite having the 10th-largest population. Early on, we had a day’s worth of personal protective equipment in hospitals that were already at capacity. Today, thanks to our procurement team and partners in government, business, labor and the nonprofit sector, we have enough for several weeks. We have aggressively ramped up testing, and we have seen our curve flatten, thanks to the discipline of the vast majority of people in Michigan who have done their part by staying home.”

The governor spoke about her “MI Safe Start” plan to reopen the state of Michigan in phases.

Whitmer said the plan is designed to lower the risk of a second wave of the coronavirus, which has hit other countries.

“Going too fast could squander all that we have sacrificed these past two months and risk lives and another shutdown," Whitmer wrote. "This would put our economy, health and medical system at risk.”

The health crisis is what has created the economic crisis, so Michigan much control the first issue before addressing the latter, Whitmer said.

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She cited more tests, a lower percentage of positive cases, enhanced tracing abilities and stability at hospitals as signs she’s looking for before moving forward.

Whitmer thanked front line workers and addressed concerns about budget shortfalls.

“Right now, we need our federal partners to provide sufficient and flexible aid to mitigate the economic crisis that every state is going through," Whitmer wrote. “None of us can afford for this to devolve into a partisan issue. President Trump called this a war, and it is exactly that. So we must act like it. In World War II, Americans dropped everything they were doing to build planes and tanks. They rationed food and took care of one another. They worked together and sacrificed until we had beaten the enemy.”

Click here to read Whitmer’s full piece in the Washington Post.

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