Michigan Gov. Whitmer blasts criticism over visiting sick father in Florida

State leader reacts to criticism in interview with Washington Post

Gov. Whitmer blasts criticism for visiting father in Florida

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is responding to criticism over a trip to Florida where she went to visit her elderly father.

In an interview Monday with the Washington Post Whitmer called the criticism maddening.

That came just after republicans blasted the trip because of the governor’s constant warnings against out-of-state traveling.

“Well, I think there are a lot of contributing factors to the increased COVID numbers in Michigan. One, is of course, we were very successful for a long period of time, we kept our positivity rates in the single digits for the vast majority of the last year. And because of that, now that we are 15 months in, and people are tired, and they are dropping their guard and their mobility has increased, we also have the variants here in Michigan. And the B.1.1.7 variant is incredibly contagious. And so, with reservoirs of people who don’t have antibodies because they didn’t catch COVID in the first place, we are seeing this variant spread incredibly fast,” said Whitmer in the interview with the Washington Post.

Previous Coverage: Gov. Whitmer traveled outside of Michigan to visit ill father, spokesman says

On Sunday, Whitmer appeared on Meet the Press where she emphasized that everyone has to do their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“There are a lot of contributing factors to this moment that we are in, and yet, we know that it is on every one of us to do our part to take this seriously. What’s happening in Michigan could be happening in another part of the country tomorrow. This is a very real threat that we have to continue to take seriously,” added Whitmer in her interview with the Washington Post.

She also discussed her administration asking people not to eat inside restaurants to help stop the spread.

“What we have asked people to do is to take a pause, but to do that by not going into in-door dining, even though we have 50% capacity, it’s still a strong protocol. In-door dining, resumption of school sports, going back to school right after spring break, these are all things we ask people not to do so that we can get our numbers down,” added Whitmer in the interview.

Michigan has extended the COVID-19 order that implemented restrictions on gatherings, restaurants, entertainment venues and more.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has extended its epidemic order through May 24. It also expanded mask requirements to include children ages two to four years old. The extension kicked in Monday.

The state has seen a decline in the number of coronavirus cases since Saturday.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 799,140 as of Tuesday, including 16,986 deaths, state officials report.

Tuesday’s update includes a total of 5,259 new cases and 85 additional deaths, of which 33 were from a vital records review.

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Read: Michigan governor says COVID-19 infections could be dropping

Read More: Michigan governor responds to critics who say she changed her position on following science during pandemic

About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism