News Story

Whitmer Cites Five Experts To Rebut Senator's 'Herd Immunity' Challenge; He Has Thousands

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued a press release asserting that the concept of herd immunity as a response to COVID-19 could lead to 30,000 more Michigan deaths.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey was quoted in a recent MLive story saying, “I’m also a big believer that there’s an element of herd immunity that needs to take place.”

Whitmer included in her statement the text of a letter from five public health experts that she says they sent to Shirkey, which argues against his position.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Whitmer has said her decisions were based on science and data.

The validity of that science has now been called into question by a document called the Great Barrington Declaration, authored by leading epidemiologists and endorsed by many more scientists and health experts. The declaration is evidence that a legitimate debate is underway over the epidemic responses adopted by Whitmer, including business and school lockdowns, and ongoing mandates and restrictions on individuals.

The Great Barrington Declaration asserts that “keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage.”

The declaration states, “Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.”

The Great Barrington Declaration website lists more than 30 other doctors and infectious disease experts as co-signers. Its website claims that 6,802 medical and public health scientists as well as 14,880 medical practitioners have also signed on in the first seven days.

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.