Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer cautiously optimistic on COVID-19

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke during a news conference on Tuesday about the state of COVID-19 in Michigan, saying she's cautiously optimistic that cases are now trending in the right direction.

During her update, Whitmer compared the numbers of deaths in Michigan to the 3,000 deaths from 9/11 and, while she said there is a light at the end of the tunnel, she's concerned the next two months could be even worse.

"We've had over three 9/11's here in Michigan in the last ten months," Whitmer said. As of Tuesday, 9,324 deaths have been linked to COVID-19 in Michigan.

But, the state's medical director, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said there is a reason for some optimism.

"We are cautiously optimistic. We are seeing more people starting to do the right thing: mask up, and keep social distancing beginning in early November and we think that is contributing to the decrease in our rate of rise of cases," Khaldun said.

Whitmer fears that things will only get worse between now and the end of January and is concerned despite her targeted efforts to close some businesses.

"The next two months are going to be bad," Whitmer said, referencing case load numbers that will come in soon and travel that will happen on Christmas. "Our cases are dangerously high with more hospitalizations and deaths already even with our targeted actions. we expect to see numbers increase over the coming weeks and months as more people travel for the holidays."

The governor's three-week pause is in an attempt to slow down the spread of COVID-19 in the state. 

The restrictions, which came from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, went into effect on Nov. 18 and are set to expire next week on Wednesday, Dec. 9. 

Under the new orders, in-person learning in high schools, indoor service at bars and restaurants, movie theaters, casinos, organized sports, and arcades were all ordered to close.