Whitmer warns against Thanksgiving gatherings as state approaches 230K COVID-19 cases

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a press conference on voting, Oct. 28, 2020 | Gov. Whitmer office photo

As Michigan is closing in on 230,000 COVID-19 cases, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer warned residents against having big Thanksgiving celebrations.

“As we get ready for the holidays, every one of us is going to have to have a plan and think long and hard about how to keep our family’s safe,” she said at a Tuesday press conference. “I know that it’s hard. No one likes Thanksgiving more than I do. I love to host and have the whole family come together. We’re not going to do it this year. It’s just too dangerous.”  

She also reiterated her call for Michiganders to adhere to mask wearing and social distancing amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

When asked if she expected a new stay-home order soon, Whitmer responded, “I would love to have a partnership [the GOP-led state Legislature] where we can take the politics out of this moment and do everything we can to stabilize here in Michigan and mitigate the harm that we are feeling. All of that is important. In terms of what possible next steps would look like, I’m having an ongoing, regular conversation with the Department of Health and Human Services.” 

Michigan had a stay-home order from late March to early June. Republicans in the Legislature have repeatedly rejected taking up legislation for a mask mandate and other restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus.

143 ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in K-12 schools, colleges

DHHS reported Wednesday that a total of 229,285 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 7,766 have died from the virus — an additional 6,008 cases and 46 deaths since Tuesday.

This fall, Michigan’s daily cases have exceeded the spring peak average, following the trend of most other states. 

DHHS also reports that an additional 22,587 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 370 probable deaths. The department began tracking probable cases on April 5.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington estimates that Michigan will hit 14,180 coronavirus deaths by Feb. 1 if the state stays on its current trajectory. This is considered the most conservative model.

IHME COVID-19 projection for Michigan, Nov. 11, 2020

IHME projects 399,163 deaths nationwide by Feb. 1.

Combining the state’s confirmed positive cases with probable cases brings the total up to 251,872 statewide cases and 8,136 deaths.

The virus has been detected in all of Michigan’s 83 counties. The state’s COVID-19 fatality rate is at 3.4%.

The first two cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state on March 10. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency that day.

Johns Hopkins University reports that there are more than 51.8 million confirmed cases worldwide and 1.3 million deaths. The United States makes up a significant portion of those, as more than 10.4 million confirmed cases and 240,521 deaths have been recorded nationally.

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.
Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.