Friday News Hit: Whitmer extends emergency order, new guidelines for schools, and how a 62-year-old overcame the virus

After a wild day in Michigan's state capital, which played host to a second headline-making protest, it's Democratic governor renewing her declaration of emergency and GOP leadership vowing to fight the decision with a lawsuit, it's uncertain where the state stands as far as executive orders are concerned. For Gretchen Whitmer, it's another month under a state-mandated emergency. For Republicans in the House and Senate, the state was no longer bound by the emergency declaration issued under the governor.

Earlier in the day, both the House and Senate chambers approved resolutions that authorized a lawsuit that would challenge the governor's authority. The votes came as protesters brandishing assault rifles watched from above. Throughout the day, there were particularly tense exchanges between the capitol building's sergeant in arms and individuals attempting to gain access to the chambers. It's the second protest in as many weeks to feature residents disobeying social distancing guidelines established by the federal government.

In Whitmer's emergency declaration, she admonished Republicans for "putting their heads in the sand and putting more lives and livelihoods at risk" and promised to keep that from happening. “We’re all in this together. Defeating COVID-19 is an all hands on deck moment for our state, and I remain hopeful that Republicans in the legislature will stop the partisan games and start working with me to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.” 

In a speech on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake said lawmakers could no longer let one person make decisions for the state's constituents. "Citizens count on a government structure of checks and balances. The legislature is the voice of the people and we must have a seat a the table to ensure the concerns of our constituents are considered as part of the decision-making process."

While the bulk of the executive orders issued by Whitmer fit with the priorities of the GOP, the one that doesn't is her stay-home order. A blanket mandate on all residents that restricts travel and nonessential businesses from opening.

Shirkey, Hosue Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), and the rest of the Republican caucus say a more region-based approach is necessary for tackling the COVID-19 outbreak in the state because it's concentration isn't equal depending on the county one refers to. Whitmer says loosening restrictions in more rural parts of the state would be dangerous because those areas lack the health care capacity of Southeast Michigan - the epicenter of the outbreak.

It's unclear when the GOP will file their lawsuit.

Whitmer's renewal of her emergency declaration wasn't the only executive order she called for Thursday night. The governor also released remote learning guidelines for the remainder of the K-12 school year, which included instruction for Michigan's Great Start Readiness Program, suspended certain requirements for teacher evaluations, and requires districts have their plans for continued learning approved by the regional intermediate school district.

"This order builds upon my previous order to ensure schools have the clear guidance they need to give Michigan students the best, most equitable education possible from the safety of their homes," she said in a statement.

Whitmer originally ended in-person schooling for districts in early April which mandated teachers continue being paid for the remainder of the school year and relaxed some of the rules assigned to the school calendar - opening up the possibility of schooling to begin earlier than Labor Day.

As of the beginning of May, Michigan's COVID-19 spread has declined enough for Whitmer to ease restrictions on an array of businesses, with plans to loosen more in the coming weeks. The number of people recovering from the virus has also expanded, including Anthony Best, a 62-year-old who overcame the virus after six weeks in hospitalization.

"There were days that I wanted to give up and say okay, God take me on home," he said

Best spent 28 days on a ventilator as people died around him. Slowly improving, his care team constantly rooted for continued health to return. Once the former patient found his breathing again, another form of recovery started; he needs physical therapy.

"Your mind might tell you can do it but your body it has to catch up with your mind," he said.

He came to DMC's Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan on oxygen and with a walker - it's what they're seeing in post-COVID patients as the muscle atrophy leaves some COVID patients struggling to move. 

Ten days of in-patient therapy and Best is still using a cane…with several more months of out-patients help ahead. Friday, he'll leave the hospital for good. 

"When you get to a point, " Best said. "And you have been at death's door, you realize that you're a miracle, because I am, to be here." 

Daily Forecast

Friday clouds will turn into sun, with weather breaking for high temps near 70 for both Saturday and Sunday.

Joe Biden expected to publicly address sexual assault allegation on MSNBC's Morning Joe

Joe Biden on Friday is expected to give his first public comments on a sexual assault allegation that has roiled his presidential campaign.

The presumptive Democratic nominee will appear on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to address the allegation by his former Senate staffer Tara Reade that he assaulted her in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building in the 1990s. His campaign issued a statement in early April denying the allegation, and a number of former Biden staffers have defended their boss in interviews.