Op-Ed: Whitmer’s Actions are Necessary for Uncertain Times

By Eric Sabree, Wayne County Treasurer.

By issuing strict Executive Orders, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been aggressive and persistent in order to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The State of Michigan has seen a constant rise in the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths. Over the past two weeks, Michigan has had the third or fourth highest number of COVID -19 cases in the nation. The greatest impact of COVID-19 in Michigan is in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.

The Governor’s recent order (Executive Order No. 2020-42) was enacted to further protect the health and safety of all Michigan residents. People are instructed to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. Most residents have complied with the previous stay at home order, while some have been slow to take the coronavirus threat seriously. People are still becoming sick because of interaction with others, and they are putting first responders, health care workers, and the rest of us at risk. The latest Executive Order is temporary and how temporary depends on our level of cooperation.

Over one thousand health care providers at the Henry Ford Health System have tested positive for COVID-19. This virus has put a strain on our health care system like never before. Our first responders are putting their lives on the line to save others. They deserve our respect and support. The least we can do is protect ourselves and those with whom we come in contact from becoming victims. To do otherwise is to be completely selfish. We all want things to get back to normal. We want to return to work, see a Tigers game, attend religious services, visit with family and friends, play golf, or take a trip to one of Michigan’s many tourist attractions. We’ll be able to do all these things again, but we must be careful.

The decision to end the State’s ‘stay home’ order should be based on several factors. One of them is the availability and implementation of widespread COVID-19 testing. We should know who is positive. We have learned that many who are asymptomatic (show no signs of being infected) could still test positive and thus could spread the virus to others. We also need to know who has truly recovered from the coronavirus and if they have the antibodies that can help others.

The data has to indicate that the new COVID-19 cases and deaths are continuing to decline. This will give some real relief to our health care workers and protect our communities from a second wave of COVID-19 cases. This will allow the residents of this great state to feel confident that they can return to some form of normalcy. There must be a plan that involves the state and local governments and the private sector to gradually open the economy. It will take time for everything to become fully operational. This is nothing new as we have heard this information from several credible sources over the last month.

Governor Whitmer has had to make difficult and timely decisions. Since there was such a slow initial response from the Federal government, Michigan needed strong and decisive action, and that’s what we received. In the heat of the battle, and we are in a battle, mistakes are made. If the Governor errs at all, she errs on the side of caution. Lives are literally at stake here. We seek assistance through prayer and patience but we have to do our part. Social distancing is working. If we do this right the first time, we won’t have to go back and do it again. Governor Whitmer is right by issuing Executive Order No. 2020-42.

Stay Home and Stay Safe.