by Bruce Walker
Although the audio feed for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s digital news conference Monday afternoon wasn’t completely clear, one message came through loud and clear: the three-week economic pause imposed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will be extended 12 days beyond its initial Dec. 8 deadline.
The new deadline is Dec. 20.
The extended pause continues the closure of bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, movie theaters and Detroit’s casinos. The governor said she would provide links to the scientific studies she said guided her administration’s decision.
The governor noted Michigan hospitals are at 79% capacity, but repeated her claim from last week in which she said it’s too soon to gauge how many COVID-19 infections occurred over the Thanksgiving Day weekend.
Pivoting from the pandemic, the governor addressed events that occurred this past weekend.
“It’s time to put the election behind us,” Whitmer said, referencing protests outside the home of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. The governor condemned the behavior and comments of protestors, including alleged threats made against Benson; House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering; and Rep. Cynthia Johnson, D-Detroit.
Whitmer’s remarks were followed by equally garbled comments by Michigan Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy Director for Health Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun.
Khaldun said daily cases of COVID-19 are declining but still high. She also said hospitalization rates are high, but also slowing.
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Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.