White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan as COVID-19 cases spike in the “Great Lake State.”
Psaki said that the governor has “shown some serious grit” in the face of the pandemic and threats to her personal safety in the past year.
The press secretary highlighted Whitmer’s push for more personal protective equipment and more testing in the early days of the pandemic “when the federal government told governors that they were, frankly, on their own and to figure it out on their own.”
“She has had to endure not just a public health crisis and a hostile state legislature, but friends who have passed from the virus, armed aggression in the state capitol and threats against her life. She’s also had to coordinate a disaster response to a faulty dam burst, all while doing all of this, in a devastated Michigan community,” Psaki said.
“So we feel she’s shown some serious grit, fight and resolve,” the press secretary added.
“We’re going to continue to work with her on how we can help address the uptick in her state and help deploy the resources we have available.”
Michigan became a COVID-19 hotspot and recorded an average of over 7,000 new cases per day, according to The New York Times.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed Michigan as hosting the highest number of COVID cases in the nation, with 50,983 new cases reported in the last week alone.
Instead of imposing new restrictions on her state, Whitmer has asked the Biden administration for more vaccines, The Hill reported.
The Biden administration replied that more doses would not solve the state’s problem.
“When there is a surge, we think that it’s important that we — we go to — we rush in to meet where that need is, because what’s happening in Michigan today could be what’s happening in other states tomorrow,” Whitmer said Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that Michigan needed to “close things down” to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“If we try to vaccinate our way out of what is happening is Michigan, we will be disappointed it took so long for the vaccine to work,” Walensky told ABC News.
She added, “We know that if vaccines go in arms today, we will not see an effect of those vaccines, depending on the vaccine for somewhere between two to six weeks.”
When the pandemic first hit the country, Michigan had some of the strictest restrictions, according to The New York Times.
This time, Michigan’s restaurants and bars remain opened and children are back in their classrooms.