Gov. Whitmer calls on Trump to issue federal mandate on face masks

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made a very pointed recommendation toward the president on Wednesday when she called on Donald Trump to issue a federal mask mandate.

Writing an editorial piece in the New York Times opinion section, Whitmer cited Michigan and the dozens of other states that have mandated masks for their constituents, saying the order has saved lives and curbed some of the economic fallout that's ensued from governmental lockdowns.

"Our actions saved thousands of lives," she wrote, referring to Michigan's mask order that was mandated July 10, further clarifying it last week.

"We are now working around the clock to restart our economy in a way that protects workers, businesses and families. But as people in Michigan and across the country begin to return to work, cases are rising again. To slow the rise and further protect our families from this virus, we need the Trump administration to issue a federal mask mandate."

Michigan was an early adopter of several business and travel restrictions. Due to the early outbreak in Metro Detroit, she closed most businesses and issued stay home orders asking people to remain in their homes unless traveling for essential services.

The state's coronavirus status diminished in April before seeing an uptick in new cases. However, Michigan's rebound is dwarfed by case reports in southern states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona. On Tuesday, more than 1,000 deaths were reported for the first time in July as daily case rates climbed past 60,000.

More cases haven't translated to more deaths in Michigan, however. Despite mid-July cases climbing to almost 900, deaths have remained below 20 for much of July. 

In her editorial, which was published Wednesday morning, Whitmer also cited a study conducted by Goldman Sachs which estimates that a federal mask mandate could substitute statewide lockdowns that would lead to a 5% drop in GDP.

"...if Americans do not mask up in public, cases could rise and we could be forced to close down more of our businesses — including the auto manufacturing plants that employ thousands of Michigan workers," she wrote.

Last week, the governor warned she could shut down auto factories if residents don't obey the mask order. 

The president has been reluctant to endorse the need for wearing a mask to slow the spread of the virus. He's rarely appeared in public wearing one. However, even Trump appears to be changing his mind in regards to their necessity, tweeting on Tuesday it is "patriotic" to wear one.