Michigan's Democratic governor has come under fire for her stay-home order, one of the country's strictest. On Tuesday, Gretchen Whitmer addressed the "gut-wrenching" choices she's made amid the coronavirus pandemic. "I never imagined having to use the levers of my office this way to protect the people I serve," she writes in the New York Times. "Each action taken weighs heavily on me. Each action has been informed by the best science and epidemiology counsel there is. These choices have been tough. They haven’t always been popular. And we will never know precisely how many lives were saved as a result." She says it's absolutely essential to avoid a second wave of COVID-19 cases, which could happen if states lift restrictions too soon, and notes that's why Michigan has teamed up with six other nearby states to coordinate their reopenings.
"Here in the Great Lakes region, we have called upon experts in health care, business, labor and education to work on a data-driven approach to re-engaging our states in a responsible manner," she writes. "Re-engaging our economies will be based on facts, science and mitigating risk to public health." She says that to do any differently could lead, as it did during the 1918 flu pandemic, to a second quarantine that lasts even longer than this initial period. Whitmer was making the rounds Tuesday: She also said, per ABC 7, that her stay-home order will be extended in "some form" past its current expiration date of April 30, and she gave an interview to the AP in which she said President Trump's plan to temporarily suspend immigration is distracting people from the real issues the country should be focusing on, like increasing coronavirus testing capacity. "This is what we need right now—not additional new things to be upset about, fearful of, or mad about." (Read more Gretchen Whitmer stories.)