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State Epidemic Website’s Fine Print Conflicts With Claims From Whitmer, Experts

Less than represented

The state of Michigan and the University of Michigan produced a new website that ranks each region of the state based on a perceived COVID-19 threat level.

But a press release announcing the site included comments, from the governor and from two top officials involved in state planning, which conflict with the website’s own disclaimers.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: “This dashboard will provide us with the data we need to assess risk in different regions of the state so we can re-engage our economy safely and deliberately, while working to minimize the risk of a second wave of infections.”

Dashboard disclaimer: “The information presented on this site is for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal or medical advice, and does not replace or supersede any guidance or directives issues from the State of Michigan in connection with its MI Safe Start plan.”

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive, state of Michigan: “The risk levels tell us whether there is high, medium or low risk of COVID-19 spread in a community and can help highlight areas where more social distancing may be needed, or where vulnerable individuals should be particularly careful.”

Dashboard disclaimer: “The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving and unpredictable viral outbreak. The data and associated risk indicators represented here are derived from state and public sources that may contain inaccuracies and that are frequently updated and/or revised.”

Sharon Kardia, associate dean at U-M School of Public Health: “This precision public health dashboard is very unique as it clearly shows everyone why some regions can open up more rapidly than others.”

Dashboard disclaimer: “Consequently, there are times that the indicators may be or appear to be inaccurate or conflicting. All data presented on this site is subject to change.”