Mitchell said his research shows that parents expect them to make decisions about masks and vaccines, and that schools should stay open as much as possible.

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Whitmer’s decisions during the pandemic will play a big part in her campaign this year, and Republican contenders opposed her decision early in the pandemic to block the state to prevent the virus from spreading.

Whitmer Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services overturned recommendations for masks for schools and indoors when daily incidents dropped below 2,200 for the first time in months, and after counties including Ingham, Wayne and Auckland revoked local mandates for mandates.

Guidelines for masks in the state have remained, while last fall the cases were much higher, but health officials said the availability of vaccines and the milder nature of omicron make it safe to lift restrictions.

But Whitmer’s move comes amid growing frustration over a two-year pandemic: a six-day blockade of the Ambassador Bridge in protest of Canada’s vaccine mandate has halted movement – and billions in international trade – and raised millions of dollars from supporters on both sides of the border.

Whitmer and other Democratic governors from Connecticut to California, who recently lifted the restrictions, are “bowing to the reality of the situation,” Mitchell said.

In all, in the 2021-02 school year, 18 states had a mask mandate, and only one, Maryland, was led by a Republican governor.

Unlike many of his fellow Democrats, Whitmer graduated from Fr. the mask mandate in June 2021leaving the decision on school masks after that to local counties and school districts.

Whitmer’s spokesman told Bridge Michigan that the governor followed “the best available data and science” in the early days of the pandemic, when she ordered a blockade that reflected what most states were doing.

“These rescue operations gave time to the world’s leading scientists to develop safe and effective vaccines, which then allowed people to take their own steps to protect themselves and their families,” Bobby Lady said in an email.

“Now that everyone has scientifically sound tools to protect themselves, Michigan has been fully open since last summer, and our state’s economy is growing, and 220,000 jobs have been created in one year.”

Delimitation from COVID

Whitmer distanced himself for several months from the claims that caused controversy and caused Lansing’s protests and en alleged conspiracy to abduct her, said Adrian Hammond, a political consultant working with Democrats.

In early 2021, Whitmer conducted monthly COVID updates with reporters.

But after May, when vaccines became widely available, Whitmer’s public discussions about COVID became less frequent, although she and her administration regularly urged residents to do vaccinations and stimulants.

In the first eight months of 2021, Whitmer’s team released 32 press releases with the word “COVID” in the title and 34 with the word “work”.

In the last four months of the year, seven newscasts were about COVID and 40 were about work. During these months, 580,000 people became infected with the virus and 7,700 people died from it.

John Seleck, a consultant who once worked for Republican Attorney General Bill Schuet, said Whitmer’s decision not to focus on COVID was accidental.

He and others point to Republican Glen Yangkin’s victory in the Virginia gubernatorial election in November, which analysts say is largely due to the fact that independent people were upset by the closure of schools because of COVID.

“They (the Whitmer administration) now look very smart in terms of political science,” Selek said. “She takes steps to the middle with her every move.”

Whitmer did not say any of her decisions were politically motivated.

Back in December, Whitmer said she and her team “Follow science”, a phrase she often repeated throughout the pandemic.

But it’s not like the pandemic ended in September, although vaccines have been widespread for everyone 12 years and older.

In fact, the number of cases grew steadily as the delta option began to cover the state, especially among children.

Since September 1, Michigan has recorded nearly 11,000 deaths from COVID-19, a third of all deaths during the pandemic and more than 1 million confirmed cases, accounting for a full half of all confirmed cases. Evaluation 82 percent of deaths occurred among the unvaccinated since January 2021.

All 13 Republican candidates for governor have blamed Whitmer for her COVID policies, including her blocking the state at the start of the pandemic and the decision in November 2020 to close indoor restaurants for nearly two months.

“That’s the other side,” Mitchell said, saying anyone who wins a nomination from the Republican Party should kill her pandemic performance.

While Whitmer is focusing on job creation and economic recovery, her opponent would be wise to take advantage of the residual anger because of her previous decisions, Mitchell said.

Studies add fuel to arguments?

Attacks by Republicans set fire to Fr. a recent study researchers from Johns Hopkins University concluded that the blockade only “reduced the number of deaths from COVID-19 by 0.2 percent.”

This study, which analyzed about three dozen other studies, attracted conservative media awards and contempt from fact-checking who noted that it was not an expert and selected only 34 studies out of more than 18,000 studies.

However, it will be part of a debate over whether the locks worked – Michigan’s order to stay home lasted 70 days, starting March 23.

University of Michigan health economist Olga Yakusheva conducted a similar study published in December.

He concluded that the blockades saved lives from 866,000 to 1.7 million in the United States alone.

Her study compared the impact of blocking to a scenario without intervention. She admitted that she did not consider whether people would change their behavior – for example, staying at home, wearing a mask – without being told to do so as cases and deaths increased.

Since the pandemic began, even with most states closing in the early days, approximately 929,000 have died from COVID-19 in the United States, including more than 31,000 in Michigan.

But Yakusheva’s research team said the cost of the economic downturn was still in excess of an estimated $ 2.3 trillion: between 58,000 and 245,000 people died when they could not get help in emergency departments due to blockages or delayed emergency care. .

These people tended to be younger and had more “quality of life” years than those who died from COVID.

The average age of death from COVID-19 is 77 years. Life expectancy across the country in 2020 was 78 years.

But Yakusheva said Whitmer and other leaders were right when they ordered the closure in March 2020 because there were no vaccines, and health officials believed COVID was more contagious and deadly.

In the first two months of the 2020 pandemic in Michigan, more than 4,200 people died from COVID-19.

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