News Story

Whitmer Says 'Science' Governed State Epidemic Responses; Record Suggests Otherwise

Were previously declared vacc-rate reopening thresholds discarded without notice?

Since the onset of COVID pandemic here, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has repeatedly declared that her decisions on state government responses were based on the “best science.”

"So as we have done from the beginning of the pandemic, we’re heeding the advice of the best medical experts in the country and listening to the science," Whitmer said at a May 24 press conference.

However, that assertion has been challenged in the past two months as the governor announced reopenings that appear to have bypassed previously-established vaccination rate thresholds.

Specifically, in an April 29 Office of the Governor press release Whitmer announced the “MI Vacc to Normal” plan with the goal of vaccinating 70% of residents age 16 and over. A key provision was to link that 70% milestone to lifting face mask orders and restrictions on gatherings.

That milestone appears to have been discarded as Whitmer lifted several of the remaining restrictions and mandates over a six week period. These include:

May 14:

In a press release Whitmer announced the face masks requirement would no longer be required for fully vaccinated residents, effective May 15. Also, the indoor mask requirement would expire for everyone on July 1, although just 55.6% of residents had at least one dose of the vaccine on that date.

May 20:

Whitmer announced she would accelerate her MI Vacc to Normal plan. Capacity limits for outdoor events were to end on June 1. Also, capacity limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings would cease on July 1.

June 17:

Whitmer said the state will be back to normal on June 22 when all capacity limits on gatherings would be lifted and residents would no longer have to wear face masks. As of June 18, 60.8% of residents age 16 and older had at least one dose of the vaccine.

Had the “best science” that prescribed a 70% fully vaccinated threshold for reopening changed between April 29 and May 14, May 20 or June 17?

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.