News Story

Michigan Not Exceptional: Recent COVID Trend Same As Neighboring States

Facts don’t support Whitmer’s ‘very different experience’ claim

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has repeatedly given erroneous statements to the media, which have often gone unchecked.

One example appeared in a Dec. 21 report in the subscription-only Gongwer News Service, which reported Whitmer’s comments about the pandemic’s progress in Michigan and surrounding states.

Gongwer reported: “Overall, Ms. Whitmer said it is clear the orders that shuttered or limited certain industries with an eye on places where indoor gathering is most common are working. While states like Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Illinois are seeing continued sharp increases, the number of new cases in Michigan continues to fall. ‘We all get credit for that because it doesn't happen with one person, it happens when the majority does it,’ she said. ‘Every expert we consulted with about a month ago said we are going to see a Thanksgiving bump, and sure enough as a nation we have. We didn’t see that in Michigan because people did the right thing. It’s pretty incredible when you compare us to Ohio, Indiana and Illinois – these are all neighboring states – Wisconsin, who had a very different experience.’”

Whitmer is wrong. The experience of surrounding states is not different than that of Michigan in a meaningful way.

Despite the governor’s claims, all the nearby states she mentioned have experienced similar drops in the number of confirmed daily new cases soon after new highs were reported.

Michigan: On Nov. 20 this state saw 10,140 daily new coronavirus cases reported, the highest since the epidemic began. On Dec. 21 the confirmed new cases figure was down to 2,784 confirmed new cases; on Dec. 22 there were 3,514.

Wisconsin: On Nov. 18, Wisconsin reported 7,989 confirmed new cases, again the most in 2020. This has fallen to 1,435 cases on Dec. 21 and 2,403 on Dec. 22.

Indiana: On Dec. 3, Indiana peaked at 8,460 confirmed new cases. By Dec. 22 the figure was 3,657 cases.

Illinois: On Nov. 13, Illinois reported 15,414 new daily cases, its highest number of the year. By Dec. 21, new case numbers plummeted to 4,699, and then bounced to 6,239 on Dec. 22.

Ohio: On Dec. 8, Ohio’s confirmed daily cases peaked at 12,720. By Dec. 21 tests revealed 6,548 confirmed new cases, which then increased to 7,678 on Dec. 22.

The data on all the states’ daily confirmed new cases comes from None of the daily new confirmed case figures represent the actual number of people who have contracted the virus, many of whom show few or no symptoms and are not tested.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.