As the novel coronavirus continues to induce panic across the country, several states have already taken action to curb its spread. Now, it looks like they may be considering more extreme measures.
Speaking on a local radio show last week about her administration’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) carefully dodged the question of whether she may impose martial law as a means of halting the spread of the virus, The Daily Caller reported.
Dodging the difficult question
Gov. Whitmer joined radio host Michael Patrick Shiels on Michigan’s Big Show Friday to discuss what is being done in the state to address the growing public health crisis.
Toward the end of the brief interview, Shiels referenced other places around the world that have been hit hard by the global pandemic and taken drastic action in response, such as Italy. He went on to ask Whitmer if a declaration of martial law — which would involve the use of the police or military to enforce order, possibly including curfews and quarantines — is on the table.
“Could we get to a position where it’s sort of like martial law, where everything is closed and everybody stays home like it is in Italy, for instance, where you only have the hospitals and the drug stores open?” Shiels asked.
“I think we have to make decisions on where the facts and science dictate,” Whitmer replied. “At this juncture, it’s too early to make any statements, it wouldn’t be responsible to make any statements on that front.”
She went on: “I will tell you this — every decision we make, we will be transparent about it, what’s driving the decision. We will share it as quickly as we can with the public, once the decision has been made, and we will always put the health and safety of the people of the state first and foremost, and that will drive all decisions.”
Whitmer also suggested that “there are scenarios that people can conjure that would create a lot of different responsibilities on my part. At this juncture it is too early and would be irresponsible to start pointing out all of those scenarios,” she added. “I just ask that everyone does their part and everyone keeps their head about them and that you stay tuned and are following this closely.”
Fighting the coronavirus
According to The Tennessee Star, “Whitmer announced the closure of all schools until April 16 in the state of Michigan on Thursday.” She later vowed in a tweet to make efforts “to ensure our children who rely on school for meals have access to food.”
Since then, President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency in the U.S., freeing up as much as $50 billion toward efforts to contain the coronavirus, according to Politico. The president had told reporters earlier in the day that Congress had failed to offer up enough funds to combat the disease.
“We just don’t think they’re giving enough,” he said, according to Politico. “We don’t think the Democrats are giving enough.”
It remains unclear whether more drastic measures will be taken — and for her part, Gov. Whitmer hesitated to rule it out. But could she handle the backlash?