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Whitmer, maskless at high-risk school district, ignores health department, CDC guidance

Through her actions, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is declaring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic

Government offices and officials have given confusing and mixed messages ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took an important step toward ending the confusion last week — sending a signal that the pandemic is over — by partaking in a roundtable discussion at Novi High School, without wearing a mask.

This was an important step back to normal social interaction. But the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has failed to join the governor.

The Michigan health department told WZZM-TV on August 11 that people should look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for guidance on mitigation strategies in their local area. Some communities, it said, have higher or lower transmission rates.

Oakland County had at that time, and still has today, a high transmission level. And according to CDC guidance, Whitmer should have been wearing a mask at the Novi event, held indoors.

This is not the first time the governor and her administration have gone against CDC recommendations over the past three years. Whitmer’s executive order in June 2020, which allowed COVID-19 patients to be housed in nursing homes, said housing nursing homes should follow the CDC’s best practices.

Her administration also issued an executive order in July 2020 for employers to protect their workers by following CDC guidelines. Whitmer announced in July 2021, however, that she would not follow updated CDC recommendations and would not issue a new mask rule, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The governor fell back in line with the CDC Dec. 31, 2021, when the state health department said it would follow the updated guidelines.

Yet, when the CDC announced Aug. 11, 2022, that it will no longer issue one set of guidelines for the vaccinated and another for the unvaccinated, the state health department did not say it would follow suit. It said in a news release:

“The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reviewing the guidance from the CDC and will share any updates to our guidance after the review is complete. We recommend residents of Michigan stay up-to-date on vaccines and stay home if they are not feeling well.”

Is Michigan following CDC guidance or not? Is the governor? Should the people of Michigan?

Whitmer’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

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.