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Whitmer: Difficult winter ahead before vaccines are ready


Governor Gretchen Whitmer said there’s no decision yet on whether she will continue the “pause” on indoor restaurant dining and in-person high school and college classes. It’s set to expire on December 8.

Whitmer said she’s still waiting to see the effects of Thanksgiving gatherings on infections. But she said people should brace for a “difficult” December and January.

“If we could all do our part right now and take this incredibly seriously, three weeks from now life would look very differently," she said. "So we really are encouraging people not to travel for Christmas.”

The governor said this is a dangerous time with people growing tired of restrictions. And, with a COVID-19 vaccine expected soon, people might let their guard down.

“It’s a reality that we will all benefit from in the coming months, but right now it’s a really dangerous moment,” Whitmer said.

The governor said health care workers will be first in line once a vaccine is OK’d. But it will likely take months to get the vaccine widely distributed to the general public.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said using millions of dollars to combat food and housing insecurity and adding more testing sites has helped to lower the impact of the disease on underserved communities.

Michigan’s COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities released initial data that officials say show improvement within communities of color.

According to statistics released Thursday, the number of probable deaths per million among African-American Michiganders dropped significantly – from nearly 22 per day in March and April – to just one per day in November.

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist heads the task force. He says the fight to address disparities is personal.

“I have lost 24 people in my life to COVID-19 as the governor alluded to, 24 empty seats at the dinner table, 24 people who will not have the opportunity to spend another holiday with their loved ones,” he said.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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