Michigan Gov. Whitmer resumes wearing mask at indoor events

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wearing a facemask

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday resumed wearing a mask at indoor events, citing revised guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a recommendation from Michigan’s chief doctor.

The Democratic governor, who is vaccinated, said she does not anticipate reinstating a face covering requirement, “not in the near future and maybe not ever.” The CDC on Tuesday reversed course and recommended that even vaccinated people return to being masked indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging.

While daily COVID-19 cases have been rising in Michigan, the state's two-week rate was lower than in all but three states as of Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

“I wear it not because I'm worried about me but because I worry about those who aren't vaccinated yet. If you aren't vaccinated, please get vaccinated. It's the best way to stay safe,” Whitmer said at a housing-related news conference in Detroit. She said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, had encouraged her to wear masks indoors and among groups.

Citing new information about the ability of the delta variant to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. A Michigan rule does require health care employees to be masked.

The virus “could continue to mutate and ultimately those of us who are even vaccinated may see a variation that we are vulnerable to,” the governor said. “That's why all of us doing our part getting vaccinated, wearing masks when we are inside and close together is always going to be a smart thing to do so long as COVID is around — and COVID's going to be around a while.”

About 63% of residents ages 16 and older have gotten at least one shot.

The state reported an average of 441 new daily cases from Saturday to Tuesday. The seven-day average, 437, was triple what it was a month ago but far below the April peak of more than 7,000 during Michigan's third surge.

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