Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says extension of three-week closures is 'sadly possible'

Michigan's three-week pause that was instituted in mid-November is supposed to end on December 8th, but will it? Governor Gretchen Whitmer said on Thursday it is "sadly possible" that current restrictions will be extended to slow the spread of COVID-19

During her news conference on Thursday, in which Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist revealed progress by the racial disparities task force, the governor and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun revealed details of the COVID-19 vaccination, which is expected to be in Michigan in 12 days. But distribution for the public will be much later.

"We expect it to be as early as December 15th. This is really exciting," Khaldun said. "We will not promote the vaccine in Michigan unless the science is clear and it is safe and effective."

With a light at the end of the tunnel, case rates are still not good. 

"Our case rates remain alarmingly high. Rates in the state are five times what we saw in the beginning of October. Every area of the state has a case rate of over 450 cases per million," Khaldun said. "Currently 81% of hospital ICU beds are full."

Because of those high numbers, Whitmer said it is "sadly possible" that she will have to extend the ban on casinos, in door dining, drinking and other gatherings of too many citizens.

"If we have to make extensions of the current pause in some realms - and that is sadly possible because of the shear volume of COVID," Whitmer said. "The early numbers look as though we're seeing a little bit of leveling, that's a good thing, we were on this very dramatic upward. Think about how many we're not taking if we can level that curve. Ultimately, we need to bring that down."

On the good news front, at one point 40% of the covid cases in Michigan game from 15% of the African American population but now that trend has been reversed.

"In the early stages of the pandemic, the virus was killing Black people in Michigan at a rate of five times higher than that of white Michiganders. But we have seen significant progress to the point that blacks now have only 9.1% of the cases and 5.7%s of the deaths," Gilchrist said.