Michigan county, state, federal leaders discuss COVID-19 response

Topics included prepping for when vaccines arrive

County, state, federal leaders discuss COVID response

Wayne County Commissioner Sam Baydoun hosted a COVID-19 town hall bringing leaders at the county, state and federal levels to talk about the latest developments.

“Vaccines are on the way. (Next year) 2021 is going to be a much better year. All we have to do now is hunker down, wear our masks keep, our distance and then good things are coming,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

Khaldun, who serves as the state’s chief medical officer, said if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the Pfizer vaccine, she expects to have doses by mid-to-late December that would first go to medical front line workers. Prepping for a vaccine rollout is being done at the county and state level.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said they are in position to accommodate Pfizer vaccine, which requires special freezers.

“Trust us, we will be ahead of that,” Evans said.

With Michigan being in what the governor calls a three-week pause -- forcing the closure of indoor dining at restaurants, among other industries -- the discussion of more federal stimulus remains. Rep. Debbie Dingell said that nothing is certain.

“Quite frankly, President-elect Joe Biden has spoken to both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and said we can’t wait until January 20,” Dingell said. “We need to do something now. State and local governments are also desperate for aid.”

Watch the full report in the video posted above.

Local leaders press Michigan lawmakers for COVID financial relief measures

A day ahead of Michigan lawmakers returning to work in Lansing, mayors and business leaders on Monday called on the federal and state governments for coronavirus pandemic relief as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s latest request of legislative leadership hangs over the upcoming session.

“I think 2021 and 2022 are going to be some of the toughest times facing municipal governments certainly since the Great Recession, perhaps even worse,” said Michigan State University professor Eric Scorsone during a Monday press conference. Scorsone has done work with Michigan municipalities like Lansing, Flint and Detroit.

The legislature has just nine days scheduled for work before the session ends for the year. The session officially ends on Dec. 17 before restarting the second week of January.

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About the Authors:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.