Gov. asks Michiganders to turn on lights Wednesday for COVID memorial

    Detroit Memorial to Honor Victims of COVID-19 program cover
    Updated, 10:42 a.m., 3/9/21

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist are asking all Michiganders to turn on the lights outside of their homes from 8 to 9 p.m. Wednesday in remembrance of the Michiganders who died of COVID-19.

    Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the first two cases of COVID being found in Michigan.

    “We’ve had a difficult year and lost so many fellow Michiganders,” said Whitmer. “On Wednesday, Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist and I urge everyone to turn on their porch lights for an hour, so that we can remember those we’ve lost and remind ourselves that even in times of darkness, we’re in this together. As we mark this occasion, we also look towards the light at the end of the tunnel. We have three safe, effective vaccines, all miracles of science, that will help protect you, your family, and others from COVID and help us get our country and the economy back to normal.”

    As of Monday, there are 598,014 cases and 15,670 deaths. Michigan has administered 2.4 million vaccine doses.

    On Tuesday, Whitmer also announced she has ordered U.S. and Michigan flags within the State Capitol Complex and upon all public buildings and grounds across the state of Michigan to be lowered to half-staff on Wednesday.

    “It’s been one year since COVID-19 was found in Michigan, and as a result, this virus has changed almost every aspect of our daily lives, but despite its darkness, we have seen the brightest light shine in the determined resolve of each other during these trying times,” said Gilchrist. “The simple act of turning on our lights is a way to remember and honor those we have lost and show that we’re all in this together and we will emerge from this crisis, together.”

    The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday night that the first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.351 from South Africa was identified in a male child living in Jackson County. As of Monday, Michigan has also identified 516 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant from the U.K. Both variants are more contagious.

    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.