Doctors group calls for national ‘shelter in place’ order, asks Michigan business groups for support

A researcher works in a lab that is developing testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus at Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation on February 28, 2020 in Nutley, New Jersey. | Kena Betancur/Getty Images

The Committee to Protect Medicare (CPM) has asked the President Trump administration to issue a national “shelter in place” order to “slow the runaway spread of COVD-19.”

A statewide coronavirus hotline is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-888-535-6136. Information can be found on the DHHS website or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention website.

Under shelter-in-place orders, residents are only permitted to leave their homes for limited reasons, such as seeking medical care, filling up their vehicles, taking a walk or buying groceries. Illinois and California have already instituted them, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer again declined Sunday while appearing on national news shows to announce such action for Michigan.

As of Saturday morning, Michigan has 787 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus, although state officials believe the actual number of cases is much higher. There have been eight deaths.

The World Health Organization reports there are 267,013 cases world wide and more than 11,200 deaths. In the United States, there are 15,219 confirmed cases and 201 deaths.

After several Michigan business groups came out against a “stay at home” order in the state now due to concerns about the economy — including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Association of Michigan — the Chicago-based CPM is asking them to reconsider their position.

Rob Davidson

“We are quickly running out of time and delaying a shelter-in-place order will only endanger people’s lives and the very businesses that the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and its leader, Mr. Rich Studley, rightfully want to protect,” said CTP Executive Director, Dr. Rob Davidson, an emergency physician in west Michigan who ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2018.

“The growing consensus among doctors, frontline medical professionals and public health experts agrees that we have come to the point where COVID-19 will continue its rapid spread, overwhelm hospitals and put lives at risk, including those needing care not related to COVID-19, unless we enforce social distancing by keeping people in their homes.”

Davidson invited Studley, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and other business groups to meet with CTP and doctors to discuss shelter-in-place orders.

Updated: 8 deaths reported in Michigan, most businesses closed until April 13*

“Health experts are warning that no quick solution exists in the fight to stem COVID-19, and we believe that suppressing the spread of the coronavirus is the best chance for people to eventually return to their regular daily activities — including going to work, running businesses and shopping,” he said.

“Doctors urge Mr. Studley, the Michigan chamber, and all business groups to listen to medical professionals because the science, facts and evidence are clear: Sheltering in place and staying home are some of  the best ways to suppress COVID-19’s spread and ultimately save lives.”

Davidson and CTP have called for “a widespread and aggressive” COVID-19 testing program.

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Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.