Aug 19, 2020

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Press Conference Transcript August 19

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Press Conference Transcript August 19
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsMichigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Press Conference Transcript August 19

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s August 19 press conference. The Detroit region has the highest number of cases in the state. Read the full transcript of her news briefing speech here.

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Gretchen Whitmer: (05:40)
Good afternoon. It is Wednesday, August 19th. I am joined today, of course, by Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, our chief medical executive, Senator Winnie Brinks, Representative Sheryl Kennedy, and Dr. Leadriane Roby, superintendent of the Grand Rapids public schools. I’m so grateful that they could all join me today. Today, we are here to talk about funding for schools that have been hit hard, particularly hard because of COVID-19 and the pandemic that we’re grappling with. Since March, teachers across Michigan have been working hard to help their students get a great education from home. It has not been easy, but our dedicated educators have been working around the clock to address the digital divide that students in low income communities in particular have been confronting. Teachers have connected their students by phone, text, by mail, and some have been really creative in how to connect with our children. They’ve stepped up as some of the real heroes in this fight.

Gretchen Whitmer: (06:43)
So now more than ever, whether a district plans to begin in person learning or continue with remote learning, we’ve got to do everything we can to protect our students, our educators, and support staff from COVID-19 and all of their families, of course, and support them so that we can continue to work on education and educational outcomes for our kids. On Friday, legislative leaders and I reached a bipartisan deal regarding the upcoming 2020/2021 school year. It’s a deal that gives students, parents, educators, and support staff much needed support, flexibility, stability, and certainty as we approach the new school year. They deserve some peace of mind over the next few months about what that holds in store. And this legislation goes toward that end.

Gretchen Whitmer: (07:36)
Today, I am announcing $65 million in CARES Act funding for schools that need it the most. As we continue to navigate COVID-19 and approach the start of a new school year, we’ve got to continue doing everything we can to protect our students and educators and support staff. And in order to do just that and ensure critical support for our schools, whether it’s helping them access PPE or cleaning supplies or helping students mitigate the impacts of learning loss in districts that need it most. This funding will go to Michigan school districts and other education related entities that have been hit most significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes Michigan school districts that predominantly serve economically disadvantaged students and will help address the digital divide that has served as a barrier to remote learning for students and educators across the state.

Gretchen Whitmer: (08:32)
The funding comes from, it’s called GEERs dollars, and it’s the Governor’s Education Emergency Relief fund. Districts will receive funding based on their numbers of economically disadvantaged students, special education students, and English language learners. We developed this formula to help schools and students and educators who are going to struggle the most as we try to resume life in the midst of this pandemic.

Gretchen Whitmer: (08:58)
Districts can use this funding in a number of ways. Most importantly, it can be used to protect students, educators, and support staff by helping implement health and safety protocols that are a part of the MI Safe Start schools roadmap. It can also be used for closing the digital divide and for the things like the purchase of laptops or tablets or internet hotspots. It can be used to enhance the remote and in-person student mental health services, or to mitigate the impacts of learning loss. We know in a regular school year, there’s a quite a bit of loss that happens between the last day of school and the first day of school. In the middle of all of this pandemic, we know that we’re going to need additional wraparound supports, and this can go toward that.

Gretchen Whitmer: (09:49)
These funds can also be used so that students can have a safe place to learn. So while schools are making difficult decisions about the year ahead, so are working families. Families are struggling to fill their childcare gap. And so we’re working to help families with that. They want to ensure that their kids are safe and that they’re engaged in their learning. And so in normal years, families need to secure before school and afterschool care. If they attend a district that’s remote, they’ve now got to find 40 hours worth of care. That is an incredible hardship. Schools have an important role to play in helping our families. They can use their buildings to provide spaces where children can learn in small groups. They can partner with community based organizations to ensure that working families have options. And the funds that I’m announcing today can be used to fund these types of efforts and ensure every child in our state is safe and healthy during the school year.

Gretchen Whitmer: (10:50)
So this is a good start. We’ve taken more steps to help Michigan families and that’s good news. Yesterday, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency submitted an application to the United States Federal Emergency Management-

Gretchen Whitmer: (11:02)
… Application to the United States Federal Emergency Management Administration, or FEMA, for funding that would provide an additional $300 per week payment to Michiganders receiving unemployment benefits. This program provides some much needed additional support for families that are struggling to put food on the table or pay their bills. But, it’s still a short term bandaid that falls far short of what is really needed. We still need the federal government to work together on a bipartisan recovery package to support all Michigan students and educators, as well as state governments, families, and small businesses. I’ve been calling on the president and Congress to work together on a plan that will help our state for weeks now. It’s time to put the partisanship aside and to get it done. States all across this nation, no matter who their governors are, are calling for the same thing. We are approaching a new school year.

Gretchen Whitmer: (11:59)
Millions of Americans are going back to work in states and continue to reengage our economies. And our state budget deadline is coming up in just six weeks. And yet there’s no real national strategy yet on how to get through this and how we get America back on its feet. We want to avoid painful cuts to public education in the midst of all of this strife, cuts to public health and cuts to public safety. That’s what will happen if Congress doesn’t get their job done and if the president doesn’t sign this into law. So we need their help. Every state in the nation needs their help. The US House of Representatives did their part by passing the HEROES Act many months ago at this juncture. It’s time for the president and Senator McConnell to put their full weight into it and get it over the finish line.

Gretchen Whitmer: (12:47)
Like I’ve said before, COVID-19 will not magically go away. It hasn’t changed. It is still very present. And the pandemic won’t end just because we’re tired of dealing with it. But I can confidently say we all feel that way. So if every one of us continues to do our part, the simple act of wearing a mask, if 95% of America masked up, we would save tens of thousands of lives between now and December. I think the number is 44,000 people would still be living come Christmas. It is important that we continue to do this. We want our stores to stay open and our workplaces to stay open and our kids to get back to learning. Please mask up. And with that, I’ll hand it over to Dr. Khaldun.

Dr. Khaldun: (13:40)
Good afternoon. And thank you, Governor. So yesterday, we announced 93,662 total cases and 6,340 total deaths due to COVID-19 in the state of Michigan. We continue to pay very close attention to the overall trends in the data and watch very closely region by region. As I’ve said many times before, the spread of the disease varies by region. So I’m going to go through that again. So as of the end of last week, our data shows that the Detroit region has the highest case rate at 61 cases per million people per day. But as I discussed previously, the case rate is largely driven in that region by counties outside of the city of Detroit. The Saginaw region has the second in highest case rate at 54 cases per million people per day, and has seen a slight increase over the past week. The Kalamazoo region has a case rate at about 50 cases per million people per day. It has been declining over the past two weeks.

Dr. Khaldun: (14:45)
The Upper Peninsula is at 47 cases per million people per day, and has seen a slight decrease over the past week. The Grand Rapids region is at 34 cases per million people per day, and has seen a slight decrease over the past two weeks. The Traverse City, Jackson and Lansing areas all have between 20 and 30 cases per million people per day. The Jackson and Lansing regions have seen decreases over the past two to three weeks, while Traverse City has seen a slight increase. Our testing numbers also continue to look really good across the state. We now have a seven day average of over 28,000 tests per day, and we’re testing over 2% of our population per week, which is our goal. The percent of those tests that are coming back positive is at about 3.3%.

Dr. Khaldun: (15:36)
And that’s something that we want to keep watching and we want to make sure that it goes below 3% steadily. So when you’re testing enough and only a small percent of those tests are coming back positive, again under 3%, that’s a really good sign that the spread of the disease is under control. We also know that many cases are still associated with outbreaks. We’re seeing several outbreaks across the state in every region. Last week, our local health departments identified 85 new outbreaks that they were investigating. The most frequent settings for those outbreaks, those new outbreaks, were longterm care facilities, social gatherings, office settings, agricultural and food processing settings and manufacturing. Our state and local health departments are working diligently to identify these outbreaks and to stop the spread of the disease. But please everyone, do not think that you are somehow going to outsmart this virus.

Dr. Khaldun: (16:36)
If you try to sneak and you have large gatherings and you’re not wearing your mask and you’re not maintaining physical distance, there’s a good chance that you’re going to come in contact with someone who has the disease. And there’s a chance that you can get the disease, and you can get it and you can pass it on to others. And if you’re lucky, you get to keep your life and you don’t die. But even if you live, there are many people who have long-term health consequences, problems with their brain, or their heart, or their lungs. And there are still some consequences that we’re still trying to understand. This is not something that everyone is just bouncing back from quickly. So please be vigilant and take COVID-19 seriously. Contact tracing also remains a critical part of our COVID-19 response. So in the past 30 days, nearly 20,000 Michiganders, Michigan residents, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and state and local health department staff have attempted to reach out to over 90% of those people.

Dr. Khaldun: (17:40)
We are aggressively reaching out to those contacts of those positive cases as well. Since early May, volunteers and paid staff have made over 100,000 phone calls to those contacts of positive cases, but were still only successful in reaching contacts about 60% of the time. So again, everyone has an important role to play here. Do your part. And please tell us where you’ve been or who your close contacts are. And please respond when health department staff send you a text message or we call. This information is critical to helping to stop spread the disease, and all the information that you share will be kept confidential. I also want to briefly touch on vaccines. We are all hoping for a safe and effective vaccine that will protect us from COVID-19 and allow our communities to get back to some sense of normalcy. So vaccines typically take anywhere between 10 to 15 years to develop and approve through four phases of trials.

Dr. Khaldun: (18:42)
We’re hopeful that a vaccine will be widely available for distribution as early as next year. Efforts to develop a vaccine are being accelerated worldwide, including here in the US, and with the leadership of researchers, even here in the state of Michigan. Right now, there are more than 135 potential vaccines that are being studied. Eight are in large scale phase three trials already. We just need one of these vaccines to be effective and safe. So I’m really, truly optimistic. But it’s important to note that creating this vaccine is just half the battle.

Dr. Khaldun: (19:19)
The other half is getting it to the public in an efficient and timely manner. So we’re going to be working with our federal and local partners to make sure that the vaccine is available and distributed appropriately when it does become available. And most likely, as with previous infectious disease outbreaks, such as the H1N1 influenza, it will be distributed in a tiered approach, focusing on those who are most vulnerable and are most essential workers. In Michigan, we are going to prioritize making sure there is equitable access to the vaccine and that we eliminate as many barriers as possible, focusing those who are the most vulnerable.

Dr. Khaldun: (19:57)
And although we are anxiously preparing and awaiting a COVID-19 vaccine, something simple that everyone can do right now is get a vaccine against other vaccine preventable diseases, like the measles, the mumps, and the flu. Our lives and our livelihoods depend on everyone doing their part right now. And again, focus on simple things that you can control right now. Wear your mask, wash your hands, keep your distance, and please get your flu shot this fall. If we join in this together, I know that we can successfully beat this disease. And with that, I will turn it over to Senator Brinks.

Winnie Brinks: (20:47)
Thank you, Dr. Khaldun. Good afternoon. My name is Winnie Brinks, and I am the state Senator for the 29th district, which includes the city of Grand Rapids and much of Kent County. First and foremost, I would like to thank Governor Whitmer and Dr. Khaldun and the Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist for their capable and steady leadership during this pandemic. That leadership is being demonstrated once again today in using the governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund to provide much needed resources to schools and education related organizations, serving Michigan’s most economically disadvantaged communities. While we clearly still need more help from our partners at the federal level, this decisive action to do everything we can with the CARES dollars that we already have received is a testament to recognizing the unique challenges facing our students and teachers this year. In Kent County, we’ve seen firsthand the value of investing in our students. Our communities have been working hard to ensure that children are fed, that families have safe and affordable housing, that students and their families get the physical and mental health care that they need to succeed. Those needs don’t go away just because kids-

Winnie Brinks: (22:03)
Succeed. Those needs don’t go away just because kids might be learning from home, in a school building, or some combination of the two. The fact is, meeting those needs has become much, much harder since the Coronavirus hit our state. This new reality has created additional challenges for our school districts and for the dedicated educators and support staff who teach our children. The need for PPE, for cleaning supplies, computers, and internet access is much greater now. We also need to tackle learning loss and help students deal with the additional stresses caused by financial need and the loss of loved ones. School staff also need help for remote learning, for resources, teacher training, and general support as they gear up to teach in new and innovative ways. As a former elementary school paraprofessional with a middle school teacher for a husband, I cannot overstate how critical this support is to student success in normal times, and it’s even more critical now.

Winnie Brinks: (23:01)
The funding announced here today will go a long way to help those who need it most. And it will take some of the impossible pressure off of the extraordinary task facing our educators in this unprecedented year. Making sure our children get the education they need is going to require more from all of us. And I’m heartened by this concrete demonstration from Governor Whitmer, of her commitment to students, to families, and to educators across our state. This is exactly the kind of action that we need to help students and everyone involved in their education come out on the other side of this school year and this pandemic healthy and on track for future success. Now I’d like to introduce Representative Sheryl Kennedy.

Sheryl Kennedy: (24:00)
Thank you Senator. I first want to thank Governor Whitmer for inviting me to be here today and for her leadership in delivering these desperately needed resources to support Michigan students. As a lifelong teacher and school administrator, the success and wellbeing of our students has always been my top priority, one shared by all of us standing here. My entire professional life I’ve been committed to leveling the playing field for all students and closing achievement gaps. If we know one thing about the COVID-19 crisis, we know that it has put a spotlight on the issues that have long affected communities of color, working class, and rural communities with fewer generational privileges. These challenges include equitable access to quality healthcare, technology, and education. But for decades, Michigan has failed to fully fund our schools. Public schools were underfunded by over $2,000 per pupil and special education by over $700 million. And that was long before COVID-19 ever appeared in our state.

Sheryl Kennedy: (25:10)
Because our schools are funded primarily by state sales tax, the necessary slowing of business and retail due to COVID-19 has stretched an already thin revenue stream for education. These stresses are exponential in districts that are already facing financial hardship, have higher levels of children living in poverty, have non-English-speaking children, or more children requiring special education services. Now more than ever, we have a responsibility not to only rectify our past mistakes when it comes to funding education, but to also lay the foundation for a better future. That’s exactly what the Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund will do. These funds will ensure that the extra dollars that need to be allocated to not only maintain the status quo for most children, will serve the children and families who need it most. So those students and teachers who need access to technology will get access to technology. Those students who need access to social work and mental health services will continue to get those services. Those students who need to learn to speak English and understand the new ways and culture of their new home in the United States will get those services as well.

Sheryl Kennedy: (26:33)
We are living through a pivotal moment in Michigan’s history right now and the choices we make today will determine how long into the future we continue feeling the effects of this unprecedented crisis. We must do everything we can to ensure our students still get a shot at building a brighter future on the other side. Thanks to the GEER or GEER dollars appropriated by Governor Whitmer, our students will have a fighting chance to keep their heads above water. And our teachers will be gaining new skills to broaden their toolbox so they can take their exceptional work into students’ homes via technology. I am so proud to stand with Governor Whitmer and all of my colleagues here today in this fight for improving education in the State of Michigan. Thank you. And now I would like to introduce Dr. Roby, Superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Dr. Roby: (27:52)
Good afternoon. My name is Leadriane Roby, and I’m the new Superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools. I am pleased to be back as a resident of the State of Michigan and honored to serve the 15,000 students and families of Grand Rapids. On behalf of the Grand Rapids Board of Education, the entire district, I want to first extend our thanks and appreciation to Governor Whitmer, and her team for the clear and decisive leadership during this pandemic. I also want to thank the legislature and its leadership, including my own Senator Winnie Brinks for working with the Governor to give districts clarity in the recently passed bills. Today’s announcement is another example of true leadership during these unprecedented times. The research is clear. Our state’s vulnerable students have been most adversely impacted from this pandemic from an academic, social, and emotional standpoint.

Dr. Roby: (28:56)
I applaud Governor Whitmer for recognizing these inequitable impacts and allocating resources to our highest poverty, highest needs students so that they will receive the extra help and support so that they can also thrive. The GEER funds announced today are a significant step towards equitably meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of our most vulnerable and at risk students. I am hopeful that during the upcoming budget discussions we can build upon this progress. Our children are counting on us. Thank you.

Gretchen Whitmer: (29:48)
Well, thank you. I was standing here thinking about all the conversation we’re having as a nation about a hundred years since women’s suffrage and to stand here and look at these women up here on the stage, it’s really pretty, pretty amazing. Dr. Roby has taken the helm of a district in the midst of a pandemic and, leading with fortitude and so grateful for your leadership, and Dr. Khaldun has been phenomenal. I want the people in Michigan to know, in a lot of states, medical executives have not lasted as long as Dr. Khaldun because it is incredibly stressful and hard the work that she’s doing, and she shows up and I’ve heard from so many of you, the confidence and comfort that her words give. And so I’m incredibly grateful for her leadership, and Senator Brinks and Representative Kennedy are two phenomenal leaders from Kent County and Genesee County, and we’re so grateful to have you here and for your leadership. So with that, I’m happy to open it up for some media questions.

Speaker 1: (30:50)
Hi Governor. The first question comes from Beth with the Detroit News.

Beth: (30:57)
Hi Governor. Actually, my question is for Dr.Khaldun. We’ve heard last week and this week that the cases are down within the City of Detroit compared to the outlying cities and counties. Do you guys have any theories as to why that is happening given the huge surge in cases in Detroit at the beginning of all this?

Dr. Khaldun: (31:20)
I think I heard most of your question. I think the question was about the difference between the City of Detroit and the outlying counties. So it depends on the region and the city. We actually had a great conversation with Macomb County leadership earlier today to talk about the work they’re already doing and how we can work together. Again, a lot of it is about social gatherings, sometimes it’s businesses. It really depends on what’s happening in that particular county and even by county, there’s differences by neighborhood. So again, on a granular level, to be honest the entire state, if you look at the region, there’s differences, when you look more granular than the marked regions.

Speaker 1: (32:04)
Okay Governor, the next question comes from Tom [inaudible 00:00:32:07].

Tom: (32:09)
Thank you Governor. Within the hour, Debbie Stabenow, US Senator was asked about whether President Donald Trump was insane based on an earlier comment that she made. Here was her quote, “I think we have a very unstable president.” Do you agree with that statement, Governor?

Gretchen Whitmer: (32:32)
I recognize I am not a certified psychologist or a psychiatrist. I don’t feel that it would make sense for me to weigh in on that. I can tell you that some of the policies that I’ve seen come out of this White House are very concerning, and perhaps one could draw their conclusion about the policies and the positions that have been taken in the way that people have been treated. But the fact of the matter is, we are five months into a global pandemic and we still don’t have a national strategy around COVID testing. And that-

Gretchen Whitmer: (33:03)
… And we still don’t have a national strategy around COVID testing. That, in and of itself, might lead one to conclude that they don’t have an agenda, a plan, and our economy is continuing to suffer. Beyond that, I’m not going to weigh in, Tim, but nice try. Thanks for asking.

Speaker 2: (33:19)
Okay, governor, the next question will come from Paul Egan with the Detroit Free Press.

Paul Egan: (33:30)
Hi governor. Sorry about that. Are you able to do any meaningful work on the 2021 budget while you’re waiting for Congress to act, and what contingency plans have you put in place?

Gretchen Whitmer: (33:43)
Well, Paul, as you know, we are doing the unprecedented thing of having a Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference. We’re working very closely with the state budget office, with the state treasurer, of course. There are a lot of numbers that are being reported, even today, that are curious and that we want to drill down on and make sure that we understand. I do know that the budget office continues to speak with the Appropriations chairs in the legislature. I also can report that we’re keeping very close tabs on what is going on in Washington, and I am hopeful that they get their work done. Every state in the nation is in the same straits that we are, and if we do not get some help in the middle of this pandemic that has caused this recession, it’s going to be very hard for all of us. I remain hopeful that, that happens. But some work is continuing, yes.

Speaker 2: (34:42)
We’ll take the next question from Christiana Ford, WIL-TV-X.

Christiana Ford: (34:49)
Hey governor. My question is, Dr. Jay mentioned a vaccine with the timeline potentially being introduced in 2021. My question to you is, how likely are you to continue to extend the state of emergency until a vaccine is introduced?

Gretchen Whitmer: (35:09)
As you probably know, I think 49 out of 50 States have a state of emergency of one sort or another right now. It is necessary to continue a lot of the protections that I have signed via executive order, that they rest on that state of emergency. So long as COVID is prevalent in such numbers… Dr. Jay shared with you, there are some regions that are in the 20s in terms of 20-some per a million per day. There are many regions that are in the 30s, and some that are north of that. That’s what remains our concern. We know that, at any moment, we could have an outbreak that could contribute to community spread, and our fortunes can change real fast.

Gretchen Whitmer: (35:54)
What I’m really proud of is that the people of Michigan have taken this seriously. When you look at where our state is compared to most of the rest of the nation, we’re in a stronger position. I know that the maps on CNN tend to look over the last seven days, are you going down or up? Right now, we’re sort of at a plateau. That is better than an increase, but we would like to see our numbers even lower than 20 per a million, and so, we’ve got to continue working toward that.

Gretchen Whitmer: (36:23)
The question about, will we remain in a state of emergency until there’s a vaccine? I can’t answer that with certainty. If our numbers got low enough, then perhaps we could think about lifting that. As I said, all these protections, making it easier for more people to access unemployment help in the middle of this, protections around our first responders, all of those rely on us remaining in the state of emergency and that’s an important part of the consideration.

Speaker 2: (36:53)
We’ve got time for just a couple more questions. The next question will come from WOOD-TV8.

Speaker 2: (36:58)
Or, can we go to Jacob with Mars for the next question?

Jacob: (37:14)
Hey governor. What do you need to see from the state’s COVID-19 [inaudible 00:37:22] to allow the remaining businesses that are closed to reopen?

Gretchen Whitmer: (37:30)
Right now, we are working with DHHS to drill down on that. I think that you’re asking an important question, and I want to give you an answer with as much specificity as I can, but I’m hampered right now because we’ve asked them to articulate all of the businesses that still have zero presence in terms of economic reopening, where we can do another assessment on risk mitigation and determine if we might consider making some improvements in the policy. We’ve learned a lot, of course, but still, it’s a novel virus. There still is no vaccine or no cure at this juncture. We’re learning a lot about it every single day, and we have the benefit of learning what is happening in other states. What’s happening that’s bad that we don’t want to do, but perhaps some things that they’ve done that have been successful. I would anticipate I’ll be able to share a little bit more on that front with you next week as that work is happening right now.

Speaker 2: (38:31)
Governor, for the last question, we’ll try WOOD TV8 one more time. Okay, governor, for the last question, we’ll try WOOD TV8 one more time. Okay, governor, for the last question we’ll try WOOD TV8 one more time.

Speaker 2: (38:49)
The last question, it will come from [inaudible 00:38:50].

Speaker 3: (38:56)
Governor, there is a real possibility that before the end of the year, you may not have control over whether Michigan is under a state of emergency. There’s a court ruling coming, the Unlock Michigan petition is out there. How are you preparing for that and what kind of contingencies are you drawing up if that happens?

Gretchen Whitmer: (39:13)
Well, one thing that I will say is that this effort to repeal the 1945 Act is very dangerous. They are using unscrupulous measures to try to collect signatures. When you see them out and about collecting signatures, they might tell you that it’s actually never to support me. May have encouraged people to do things that are not legal in terms of signing other people’s names. I think that there are a lot of concerns, but the biggest concern is this, if these powers weren’t in effect right now, we would look a heck of a lot more like Florida, and Florida is in a crisis. The governor did not follow the science, did not take the actions that we took in Michigan, and more people have gotten sick and more people will have died.

Gretchen Whitmer: (40:02)
Let me remind people, in March… Michigan is the 10th largest state in the nation. In April and in the beginning of our experience with COVID, we were number three in the nation in terms of number of cases and positivity rates and death, number three. Right now, if you look on the national map, we are 40th. We’re still the 10th largest, but we’re 40th, which shows that the actions we have taken have saved lives. Studies have shown that.

Gretchen Whitmer: (40:32)
None of this has been easy, and I do not relish using any of these powers, but I will fight to save these powers for every successor who comes after me, because, God forbid, we ever have to go through something like this, as a resident of this state, I will want our governor to be able to do what they need to do to save lives, and that’s what we have done. So I ask people to decline to sign if you see that out there because we know these actions have saved us. The vast majority of people get it in the state and support this, and that’s precisely why we’re going to fight to keep these powers in this executive office so that a governor can take action to save lives.

Gretchen Whitmer: (41:11)
With that, I know that was the last question. I thanked everyone on the stage, and I should take a moment to thank the press and all the people that continue to help us have these press conferences so that we can relay information and the people of Michigan can be informed. I do appreciate the pressure, I know you’ve got a hard job. I know you’d prefer to be in that room, but we wanted to protect your health as well as everyone who participates in this press conference. Thank you for your patience. Thank you all for doing your part. We look forward to connecting, again, soon with another update. Thank you.

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