LANSING — At a Thursday live address, Governor Whitmer warned that some residents may not understand the severity of the situation as the state saw mask-less holiday weekend crowds and a sure uptick in cases over the week.
“Over the past week, we have seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases in Michigan and over the holiday weekend, we saw countless Michiganders gathered in large groups to celebrate Fourth of July without a mask,” Whitmer said. “Right now, the law requires that anyone in an enclosed public space has to wear a mask, and that means every store you’re going into.
“We’re reviewing that requirement and considering whether or not we need to take this a step further, to strengthen compliance, because we cannot let our guard down.”
Whitmer said that in Michigan, one in five cases of COVID-19 are among patients between the ages of 25 and 34.
“Youth will not protect you from carrying and spreading this virus to your friends and family and neighbors,” she said. “We have got to all work together to protect one another.”
Whitmer pointed to states with comparatively loosened COVID-19 restrictions like Florida, which recorded a dizzying 11,000 cases last week. She said such numbers were indeed possible if people allow themselves to drop their guard.
Whitmer had originally planned to move Michigan to stage five of her reopening plan by July 4, but a steady rise in cases put a wrench in those plans.
A breakdown of case activity over the week shows a concerning trend: 446 cases and nine deaths on Thursday, 610 cases and 10 deaths on Wednesday, 454 cases and 30 deaths on Tuesday and 297 cases and three deaths on Monday.
“If (the numbers) keep moving up, we’re going to dial back if we have to,” Whitmer told CNN on Tuesday. “That’s the last thing any of us want. I’ve got to tell you, I want to reengage this economy more than anyone, but I’m not going to do it if it is too risky to do so; and that’s why we’re seeing focus on the epidemiology.”
Michigan’s COVID-19 laws still require people to wear masks while in indoor spaces. But since Whitmer moved the state to phase four in June, gas stations and other smaller stores in Wayne County and other places have been busy with customers, and even some employees, with no regard for the mask rule.
Experts have said masks can reduce the chance of spread of the novel coronavirus by about 70 percent.