Michigan's Whitmer defends state's lockdown orders; calls them 'aggressive' but necessary

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer defended on Sunday her “aggressive” lockdown measures during the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that they were necessary even as some residents protest them as too severe.

Whitmer admitted that her state’s expanded lockdown measures had been both mentally an economically hard on Michiganders, but said that the moves have “flattened the curve” in the fight against the contagion.

“What we’ve done most people in Michigan agree with and think we’ve done the right thing,” Whitmer said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “There was going to be astronomical increase and we’ve flattened the curve because we’re doing the right thing.”

MICHIGAN STAY-AT-HOME ORDER NOW BANS VISITS TO FRIENDS, RELATIVES, GOVERNOR SAYS

As of Sunday morning, Michigan had just over 37,200 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus with 3,274 confirmed deaths, according to figures compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Saturday the state saw 562 new cases of COVID-19 – the lowest number of new infection since late March.

Whitmer announced earlier this month an expansion to her state’s stay-at-home orders, which, among other things, prohibits residents from visiting family or friends with exceptions for providing care, bans public and private gatherings regardless of size or family ties, and places restrictions on what types of businesses may operate and in what capacity.

The order stirred up anger among some of Whitmer's constituents, with thousands of cars and trucks descending on the state capital of Lansing to protest them in a demonstration called “Operation Gridlock.”

“Quarantine is when you restrict movement of sick people. Tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people,” Meshawn Maddock, an organizer of “Operation Gridlock” with the Michigan Conservative Coalition, told Fox News. “Every person has learned a harsh lesson about social distancing. We don’t need a nanny state to tell people how to be careful.”

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At the time, Michigan had the fourth highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Since implementing Whitmer’s restrictions, the state has dropped to having the tenth highest number of cases.

“We have a unique issue in Michigan and we had a unique solution,” Whitmer said. “It was more aggressive than other states, but we’ve saved lives in the process.”

Despite the protests, the majority of people in Michigan appear to like the job Whitmer is doing to contain the outbreak. A recent Fox News poll found that 63 percent of Michigan residents approve of Whitmer, compared to just 35 percent who disapprove of her job performance.

The poll also found that 53 percent of Michigan voters have a favorable opinion of Whitmer, compared to 37 percent who have an unfavorable opinion.