Whitmer: We Are Seeing Surge in MI Despite Strong Mask Mandates, Capacity Limits

Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that she is “seeing a surge “of coronavirus cases despite having very strict controls on her population in the name of COVID-19 mitigation.

Partial transcript as follows:

MARGARET BRENNAN, HOST CBS’S “FACE THE NATION”: Governor, you have publicly called for a surge of vaccine doses to your state, but the White House’s COVID response coordinator, Jeff Zients, as we played at the top of the show, shot that down. Does this- I mean does this offer that they’re giving you of vaccinators, of resources make up for the fact that they’re not charging you doses?

WHITMER: Let me start by saying this. You know, we did not have a national strategy for a long period of time, and then the Biden White House came in and we have one. And by and large, they’re doing a great job. I would submit, though, that in an undertaking of this magnitude, with such consequence, it’s important to recognize where there might need to be some adjustments along the way. We are seeing a surge in Michigan despite the fact that we have some of the strongest policies in place, mask mandates, capacity limits, working from home. We’ve asked our state for a two week pause. So despite all of that, we are seeing a surge because of these variants. And that’s precisely why we’re really encouraging them to think about surging vaccines into the state of Michigan. And I’m going to continue to fight for the people of Michigan.

BRENNAN: And I know, you know, taking up vaccines takes some time. But according to reports in the Post and the AP, Biden officials are telling reporters that you aren’t maxing out your orders, that it’s a state problem here, that you’re not placing them correctly or something, or you’re not being efficient in allocation. How do you respond to that?

WHITMER: I don’t think there’s a governor in the country that’s leaving any vaccines on the table. And I can tell you that’s certainly the case in Michigan. We are getting shots in arms. We got over a million shots in arms just in the last two weeks. So we have really been rolling. We’ve spent a lot of time with the COVID Response Team, walking through. I think we found some common ground at the end of last week around the data. But all of that being said, right now, we know we’ve got even greater capacity. We could get more vaccines in arms. And when there is a surge, we think that it’s important that we- we go to- we rush in to meet where that need is, because what’s happening in Michigan today could be what’s happening in other states tomorrow. And so it’s on all of us to recognize we can squash where we’re seeing hot spots. It’s in everyone’s best interest.

BRENNAN: So did you get any explanation as to why the White House won’t surge you vaccine at this time of crisis?

WHITMER: Well, I think they’ve got a plan and they’re committed to sticking to it, and I understand that. And we are definitely grateful for the boots on the ground that they’re sending the mobile units. We’re definitely grateful for the therapeutics and the increased testing. Those are all really important. And we’re going to continue to work well with this White House and- and we’re grateful for that. But I am going to also continue fighting for my state and anyone who’s watched what’s going on in Michigan over the last year and knows that that’s- that’s how I am, I’m going to fight for- to get everything I can for the help- for the people of Michigan that we need.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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