tv Michigan Gov. Whitmer Holds Coronavirus Briefing CSPAN November 19, 2020 9:31pm-10:15pm EST
committee hears testimony from charles rettig. whitmergan governor held a briefing on the states response to the coronavirus pandemic. she urged the federal government to pass relief legislation. this is 40 minutes. . >> good afternoon. today is thursday, november 19. thank you for joining us. i am joined by our chief medical executive. president of the michigan chapter of the american academy of pediatrics. barbecue andof a delta township. kendra patterson, the co-owner of michigan barn wood and selvage in mason, michigan. yesterday, the epidemic order that the department of health and human services ordered
limiting indoor gatherings where covid can spread went into effect. i want to remind everyone these actions are both targeted and intended to be temporary. these steps are what the public health experts tell us we need to take to avoid overwhelmed hospitals and death counts like we sought in the spring. it will also protect our medical workers, first responders, and other workers who have put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us. people we usually call front liners. i hesitate to use that phrase because it implies there is a second line. the peoplerespect who have been on the front line they are what has been keeping us safe. we must all work together. we had our weekly get a call tuesday evening where we got a
call from health experts. this is the fourth call we have legislatorshigan including six democrats and six republicans from the house and senate. i am hopeful when the legislature returns from their hunting break, republicans will share their plans for addressing the public health emergency our state is facing. we must do everything we can to protect each other from the virus because this virus does not care who you are. anyone of us can contract covid-19. burkhard is a 28-year-old resident physician and one of the busiest -- in one of the busiest emergency rooms in michigan. he is an avid exerciser. he works out five times a week and has no significant chronic medical conditions. he was diagnosed with covid-19 earlier this month. and was admitted to the hospital because he could barely walk 10
steps. dave is one of the heroes who has stayed in the frontline of this crisis for the past eight months. for eight months, he has seen the worst part of this pandemic. he has seen all kinds of people admitted to the hospital with covid-19. he has watched family members taken for the last time. he wakes up, puts on his ppe, and heads to work. fellow michigan nurse to do their part. think about the families who want to be with their loved ones when they are sick but cannot. seems to silly it complain about a mask when there are literally people gasping for air. it is up to all of us to stop the spread of covid. it affects all of us and we are all at risk of getting sick. please wear your mask. do your part to stop the spread. i know this has been a tough time for all of us, tougher for
many than i can even imagine. and thewe it to dave, brave men and women in the front lines, to do our part and take this seriously. especially as we head into thanksgiving next week. you have heard me talk about thanksgiving a number of times. like i said before, we are going to get through this. we are doing our part when we protect our loved ones and stay apart this holiday. future holidayng gatherings together by taking this seriously now. by not gathering with people outside of your household this thanksgiving, it is an act of kindness and love. yesterday thatle mentioned a group of 11 family members and friends that recently gathered for a simple night of cards in the upper peninsula. shortly thereafter, all 11 got
sick with covid. their story is not unique. we know gathering indoors with people who live outside of their masks, is howring this virus spreads. health care workers sent out a joint statement urging everyone to do their part to stop the spread. here is what they said. it has been a long haul, and we are not done with covid yet. we must stop the spread of the virus, but it is up to you to choose to do the right things and have compassion for others, even if it means you must make sacrifices like wearing a mask and skipping a gathering. if we listen to the medical experts, we are going to beat this virus. we beat this last time by listening to these health experts. we can and we will do it again together.
despite leaders across our congress andg our white house to work together, we still do not have a bipartisan relief package from the federal government. the president has spent more energy spreading untruths about the election outcome then he has listening to health experts. and i a democratic leader sent a letter to mitch er pelosi, andak kevin mccarthy to take swift action to pass a covid-19 relief bill. i did ask the republican leader in both the senate and house to sign onto this letter as well, but they declined. it is really crucial we come together. it is crucial this relief bill gets passed. aids to the states
and locals to help combat the virus. mitigate the economic fallout. provided support for kids and educators. to support nurses and doctors in the frontline. to help out restaurants that are struggling. small businesses that are out of work. federal support was essential to the action we took to fight this pandemic the spring. our economytabilize in the early months of the pandemic. now during the worst surge since the start of this, michigan and states across the country need more support to protect families, frontline workers, and small businesses. we need unemployment relief to help the millions of americans who have lost work due to this pandemic. nearly 3 million michigan workers and counting have applied for unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic.
rising infections are likely to lead to more layoffs which will drive that number higher. that congressve take action now to extend ui provisions of the cares act to who lostelief to those their job. and to help us get through this tough time and strengthen the economy. workers aremichigan receiving unemployment insurance with 80% relying on the soon to expire cares act program. this means if congress does not act, almost half of a million people could lose access to these critical benefits that have served as a lifeline for these people and their families. i want to urge the michigan legislature to extend unemployment benefits beyond
december 31 of this year. this is one of my executive orders. only through the end of this year, that is not going to cut it. this should be one of the first orders of business when the legislature returns from their hunting break. we know this will not be over by the new year. while there are promising developments, we know the vaccines will not be ready for widespread distribution to the general population for months. i was proud of the bipartisan work we did to extend unemployment benefits to the people of michigan. now we have to work together to ensure people can put food on the table for themselves and their families. taken aistration has number of steps to provide support for our small businesses during this pandemic. i want to mention a few i have not talked about in a while. safetyhigan covid-19
grant program has awarded matching funds, up to $10,000, to decrease the risk of transmission in the workplace to the purchase of health and safety related equipment. the weatherization grant program provides reimbursement grant businesseshelp small including bars and restaurants winterize. businesses across the state can safetye covid-19 consultations as a part of the new ambassadorship program. the small business restart program and relief program provide funds to small businesses struggling. is black friday -- as black friday and the holiday season approaches, there are steps we can take to help small businesses and our committees. as you get ready for the holidays, i urge you to support local businesses and ensure you
are staying safe. retail remains open, with strict safety features in place. michigan barn wood and salvage michiganover 75 artisans. the 15,000 square-foot lumberyard contains reclaimed the barn wood. they have made a commitment to staying safe during this pandemic. this is in michigan are required to enforce strict safety measures. if you walk into a business and they are not wearing masks, i encourage you to walk out. next week, the michigan economic development corporation will to supportitiative
small businesses. let's embrace small business saturday every day in the coming weeks and months, even if we are doing it in a slightly different way. there is nothing more pure michigan and supporting our local businesses at home. ofwe switch one in 10 out-of-state purchases to local onees, michigan would gain point $2 billion in increased economic activity. your out-of-state purchasing staying here at home has a massive impact on these businesses, families, and right here at home. let's shop local. let's dine local. get that takeout and stay local and support small businesses that are the heartbeat of our communities. brian fromelcome smoking pig barbecue in the
lansing area. they have shown a deep commitment to keep the community safe. they are open for takeout and delivery. i know there are a lot of restaurants that are worried about the weeks to come. i am worried too. ersrge all michigan to supports takeout and delivery. i have called on the president repeatedly to pass a bipartisan support package to help restaurants and restaurant employees struggling. i will not stop until restaurants and small businesses have the support they need to get through this tough time. covid-19 does not discriminate. it does not discriminate whether you are young or old. a trump republican or a biden democrat. this virus can be deadly for everyone. that is why these next three weeks are essential.
we flattened the curve by listening to public health experts. we can do this again. to help use power push this curve down. everyone of us has the power to make choices that will contribute to that. it is going to take all of us working together. press conference before thanksgiving. i urge all of you to be smart and do everything in your power to keep your loved ones safe. we will get through this together. >> thank you, governor. good afternoon, everyone. we are announcing 285,000 cases. 8324 deaths due to covid-19 in michigan. we are still seeing an exponential rise in cases across the state.
418case rates range from per million in the traverse city region. the grand million in rapids. positive ranges from 9% to 16% in the grand rapids and kalamazoo region. every region is seen alarming rates. our hospitals are closer and closer to being overwhelmed and are on average 79% full. they are becoming more and more full of covid-19 patients. michigan has the fourth number -- highest number of hospitalized patients in the country. our public health system is becoming overwhelmed. case investigators and contact tracers may not be able to reach everyone they need in a timely way. it is very possible if you have
been exposed to someone with covid-19, our contact tracers may not be able to get in touch .ith you that is why we are encouraging everyone to download the my covid alert app. it is an easy way to be notified if you have been exposed to someone who has covid-19. you can download it on your phone. or go to michigan.gov. almost 300,000 people across the state have already downloaded the app. it has helped identify contacts of dozens of cases already. the more people that have the , the better it works. please download it today. it is one simple and easy thing you can do to do your part during this pandemic. as the governor said, next week is thanksgiving. it is certainly one of my favorite holidays.
this year, it simply has to be different. i am encouraging everyone to please do the right thing and avoid having thanksgiving anyone outside of your household. today in fact, the cdc announced clear recommendations people should not be traveling for thanksgiving to visit family or friends. especially if someone from your household or someone you may be visiting is at risk of getting very sick from covid-19 like the elderly or people with underlying medical conditions. the smartest thing is not together. perhaps you can drop some food off on the porch of your loved one so they can enjoy your cooking. but do not go inside the house. you can set up virtual conference calls, uses zoom so everyone can call in and say what they are thankful for. indoor gatherings are a major way covid 19 is spreading right now. at the rates we are seeing, it is likely if you are gathering
for thanksgiving, the virus will be around the table with you. bad decisions made at thanksgiving will mean people ning the deathsur of their loved ones by new year's. i would rather make smart decisions now and look forward to next year and we can celebrate them together alive. let me talk more about the covid vaccine. there are two vaccines that have phasepromising data in three clinical trials that may be available for distribution before the end of this year. when those vaccines are approved by the cdc, our state would be ofdy to oversee distribution them. working with hospitals, local health officials and community partners. --o trust the partner process being moved forward by the fda. a group of accomplished health and medical experts will have to review the data and science around the vaccine before it is made available.
after it is out in the public, there are systems in place so any potential adverse reactions are tracked and monitored and reported. this is exactly what happens for any vaccine. there are more systems in place for covid-19. and science and national experts tell us the vaccine is safe and effective will we be distributed and it distributing it in michigan. the initial groups to be vaccinated will be critical workers in our health care system. first responders and those most vulnerable for severe illness. it will be well into the spring before the general public has access to the vaccine. that is why it is so important we continue to focus on these preventive measures. wearing masks and maintaining six feet of distance so we can
bring this curve down again. even as hospitals are overwhelmed, i want to continue to reiterate people should seek out medical care if they needed. -- need it. emergency,having an you should contact your doctor or go to the emergence the room. we are concerned about a shortage of donated blood. many are undergoing important medical procedures or have conditions that require a transfusion. a shortage of blood can have devastating consequences. one thing people can do right now is donate blood. you can contact your local hospital to find out how. i know people are very stressed right now. they may feel like because of this virus, they cannot do the things they want. there are a lot of things you can do right now. things you can control. if you are feeling stressed out
and you were a loved one need help, you can reach out on our website. there you can find out more about how to speak to someone about how you are feeling or download some free tools like headspace. download the my covid alert app to help with contract tracing. you can and should get a flu shot. before, you can reach out to your local hospital or the american red cross to donate blood and help those who may need a life-saving blood transfusion. you can and should get a test if you feel sick. and stay at home so we do not infect others. you can and should wear a mask to protect yourself and your loved one. while these are scary times, i am very proud to be in michigan der.
and rightportant choices many are making every day, not just to protect themselves but their family members, their loved ones and community members. i'm concerned about our numbers, but i know we can do this. stay focused on what you can control, be patient, and do the right thing for your health and the health of your family and community. with that, i will pass it over to dr. hornick. >> good afternoon. thank you, governor, for the opportunity to be here today. i am the president of the michigan chapter of the american academy of pediatrics. we have seen a rapid increase in covid in adults and children. pediatric offices have been inundated with covid testing, especially with teenagers.
the risk of community spread rises. messagehad a consistent during the pandemic. when the community risk is low, we need to allow children to participate in activities that lead to healthy growth and development such as in person schooling and extracurricular activities. but when the community risk increases, we must do all we can to combat the virus and reduce the transmission and mortality. as a parent and pediatrician, there are many things i would recommend to keep your kids healthy as we move into the holiday season. intinue to wear your mask public and practice social distancing. wearing a mask continues to be one of the most effective tools to combat transmission. this is also good role model and for your children. celebrate thanksgiving only within your own household but we all would love to have large
mily gatherings but it is too risky. the cdc has warned it has -- the cases has come from even small family gatherings. please do not allow teenagers to get together. take your children to get your flu shot and get one for yourself as well. lou symptoms and covid symptoms are virtually impossible to distinguish. hospitals filling up, we need everyone to do what they can to avoid preventable illnesses that will take up more beds. the flu vaccine can help prevent the flu and prevent hospitalizations. bringing your children and for regularly scheduled visits is important, and addition to parents seeing their doctors for physicals. doctors have put in place measures to keep their office clean and ensure the safety of their patients and families.
offering telemedicine appointments and going as far as setting up mobile tents and doing car visits. we have seen a significant decrease in immunization rates and also a decrease in lead screening. in michigan, there was a 3.8% in immunization spirit led screening has decreased by 38% in july and 76% in april. without these visits, we cannot provide adequate and proper care for your children that they need. elevatedle, diagnosing lead levels at an early age can help prevent haverhill and develop mental difficulties that may have long-lasting consequences. these reinforce preventative medicine as the best way to live a healthy lifestyle, by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting a good nights rest. the final point i would like to
emphasize his mental health. we have seen a tremendous increase in depression and anxiety in adults and children since the pandemic started. please seek care from your primary health provider who can refer you to the appropriate officials. please keep negative discussion in front of your children as this can induce anxiety. easy all follow these steps as a community and a state, we can bring down the community transmission risk making schools, sports, safe to participate in again. thank you. >> good afternoon. i would first like to say thank you to governor whitmer for
inviting us to share our story. my name is brian and i am joined by my son. four co-ownershe of the smoking pig barbecue in lansing. acrosstaurant is located from the lansing mall. we have been doing michigan business -- is this in michigan since 2016. >> our story began in may of 2016 when i asked my dad to finance some equipment for me to start my own barbecue business. the firstas brisk weekend. we invested in two more smokers. and we were off and running. we transitioned to a food truck business in june, 2016. added a second food truck in
2017. as the catering arm continued to grow, we started looking for a building large enough to accommodate a kitchen to keep up with the demand of our product. we opened our first restaurant in december, 2019, shortly before the covid outbreak. we used both of our homes as collateral to fund the business expansion and are now faced with the brian: so like many other restaurants and small businesses in michigan and across the country, we needed to adjust our business plan and do it quickly in order to ensure that our , business would survive. we implemented an online ordering system to our website to lessen the time our customers needed to stand in line. we added an additional phone line to handle the increased calls for ordering. we partnered with two delivery companies that would deliver our food, so customers could enjoy
our contactless dining experience. when the decision was made to limit our dining capacity to 50%, we transitioned to a mostly takeout model. our dining room was not large enough to handle the takeout and dine-in business and still practice proper social distancing. thanks to a very loyal customer base and our local community making a conscious effort to support small businesses in delta township, we have been able to keep all of our original employees on payroll and even add a few more. i also need to thank many of our local businesses who supported us by inviting us to bring our food truck to their site, and serve lunches to their employees and customers. a final thank you to governor whitmer and her team for fighting to get grants and low-interest federal loans for us and other small business owners throughout michigan. we have been blessed to have
received assistance from the leap, as well as the payroll protection program. the future may seem uncertain right now for many of us, but with support from each other in -- each other and a strong will to survive this pandemic, we will get back to normal day-to-day operations. thank you, and mask up, michigan. kendra: good afternoon. i'm kendra patterson, co-owner with my husband, trevor, of michigan barnwood and salvage in mason. we started selling reclaimed barn wood back in 2015. and the business has since added a 4,000-square-foot home decor store featuring over 75 michigan artisans. we're all about michigan and we've seen tremendous growth in the past five years. it will come to no surprise to you that 2020 has been a very tough year for us retailers. many of us rely on holiday sales for a good portion of our revenue. as a member of the michigan retailers association, i can see
the organization studies showing how crucial it is for consumers to think about where they shop. you can help community in the easiest of ways, by spending your hard earned money money at -- your hard-earned money at local stores. yes, it's tempting to go online, but no one wants to see empty storefronts in our local shopping plazas and downtowns. retailers are ready to serve you in ways that make you feel safe. whether it is shopping in person retailers have proven , curbside, or home delivery. retailers have proven that we can follow protocols and operate safely. we want to welcome and accommodate you however you feel comfortable. this holiday season, michigan retailers' association challenges michiganders to buy gifts from at least three local stores. i promise you, it will make you feel good and it will make those store owners ecstatic. i also encourage you to tell friends and families that you would like your gifts to be purchased from local stores.
let's keep our money circulating michigan's economy. that way we can maintain jobs, , fund our schools and communities through sales tax revenue. if you send money to an out-of-state retailer, we will never see those benefits. so i urge you to keep your money right here, and thank you so much. governor whitmer: well, i want to thank all the people that joined me today. i have a feeling there's some barbecue takeout in my future, and maybe a little holiday shopping here at home, spending my money locally. so happy to answer a few questions right now. we've got some time. >> we don't have a lot of time, but the first question will come from greg albin with [inaudible]
greg: governor, you only have at best, about the legislature this year. is that enough time to put together anything meaningful if you don't already have it in the hopper and have form of limited agreement going into the final weeks of session? governor whitmer well, it : depends on what we're looking to tackle, rick. i mean i know that the legislature can move very quickly when they are motivated to. we are in the worst weeks of our experience with covid over the last nine months. we are in it right now. the legislature has indicated that they want to take some action to be helpful in this time. i'm not sure what it is. i look forward to hearing what their plan is. but i welcome that because they have codified some of my executive orders, but they have sunsets at the end of december. we know that the legislation won't get ramped back up immediately on january 1, and that's why these really need to be extended. so i think a short lame-duck period where we limit the amount of time people are coming
together from different households inside spending time , together, which we know is inherently dangerous, if we can limit that to keep it focused on covid response, where we can find common ground, i think that's the most important thing that we can do for the people of this state. >> thank you, governor. the next question will come from taylor with mlive. taylor: hi, governor. thanks for taking my question this afternoon. i wanted to ask about black friday. obviously, it will look a little different this year. what do you encourage people to do who may be considering going out to stores? are you concerned about the crowds at all with black friday , like they normally might be? governor whitmer: well, i suspect like most of 2020, black , friday is going to look a lot different. i suspect that we will see stores taking great pains to keep people safe and to i think dissuade people from cramming into stores, waiting outside together for doors to open.
that's just a recipe for disaster. i also think that there are a lot of local retailers who are looking to draw people, and not just on the one day of the season, many days throughout the season, right? start your shopping early, make sure you have a plan to stay safe, and prioritize local establishments. i think, what a compelling and wonderful story was shared with us just moments ago. what if we all focused on doing most of our shopping right here at home, but we do it over the course of time, not just all on one day where it's going to be too busy? so i encourage people to have a plan. so i know that our retailers are going to work to keep people safe. this is one part of our economy we've kept open because we think it can be done safe, and i hope everyone proves us right. >> okay. ok, we will go to kyle with
[inaudible] kyle: thank you. governor, if you had a message for president trump right now concerning the election results here in michigan, what would that be? governor whitmer: i think it would be, stop spending energy to mislead about what happened in this election, and spend it on a real covid relief package. that's what the people of our country need more than ever. this election was overwhelmingly decided. it was a safe, it was a secure, it was a fair election. joe biden won the state of michigan by over 150,000 votes. that's 14 times the margin of 2016. the canvassers need to do their job. i expect that they will do their job and certify this result. right now, i think the most important thing that the white house can be doing is working on a covid relief package. it is not just michigan that is heating up. this is happening all across the country. there are people who are unemployed who are worried about how they're going to put the next meal on the table.
there are restaurants that are in limbo because covid is out of control and it's just too , dangerous to be open right now. there are a lot of small businesses and individuals that are struggling and worried as we go into this winter, how they're going to keep the heat on. we need a covid relief bill more than anything. the people of michigan, the people of pennsylvania, the people of idaho, every person in this country is depending on our federal government to step up here, to find some common ground and to get it done. >> okay. we'll take just a couple more questions, and the next one will come from tim skubick. tim, are you muted? tim sorry, governor. : governor, what are the chances that you could get the curve down to 3% by december 8? a lot of people think that the chances are basically slim and none, ma'am. governor whitmer: tim, if we see meaningful movement in the right direction, that is possible, and that shows that we are capable
of getting our arms around this. i used the 3% number to highlight where we were most of the summer. that was contained spread. right now there's no question , that it is out of control community spread all across the state of michigan, almost 14% at the last report that we had. that is inherently dangerous. if we can get this moving in the right direction, i think that it's very possible. we know that in europe, in israel, we've seen in many parts of the world where they have taken measures like these and they have seen results. but it's all dependent on the individual people of our state doing their part. you know, that's the thing that we can't quantify and predict completely accurately, because we are tired. all of us are. we're frustrated. we don't want to be doing this anymore. and yet, until those vaccines
are readily available in probably the second quarter of next year, we just have to continue to take this seriously. a -- and that means wearing masks. that means not gathering, especially when the numbers are as high as they are right now. >> okay. we will take [indiscernible] >> good afternoon, governor. sort of following up on kyle's question, the speaker and senate majority leader appear to be playing footsie with the president on the idea of having the legislature award the electoral votes to the president despite joe biden winning michigan. we don't know that to a certainty, but it certainly looks like they're at least going to go meet with him. could you address the idea of the legislature ignoring the popular vote and awarding the electoral votes to trump? governor whitmer: i do not know the nature of the conversations that they intend to have with the white house.
what i've read is that they are both traveling there tomorrow. i hope they wear masks, and i hope they stay safe. all the meetings in the world , though, can't take away from the fact that joe biden won michigan by over 150,000 votes. as i mentioned a minute ago, that's 14 times the margin that by in 2016. won that was certified, right? so we will be sending a slate of electors that reflects the will of the people of michigan at the end of this process. i can't tell you all the different actions that they're contemplating, but i implore people to put country over party and do the will of the people, respect the law, and see through that the will of the people is reflected in our electors, and not play games with this fundamental part of our democracy.
>> okay. thank you, governor. thank you, everybody. governor whitmer: thank you. >> with coronavirus cases increasing across the country, use our website, c-span.org/coronavirus, to track the trends, spread with interactive maps, and watch updates on demand any time at c-span.org/coronavirus. >> c-span's washington journal. every day we are taking your calls live on the air on the news of the day and discussion issues that will impact you. new jerseyning, democratic congressman donald norcross discusses campaign 2020 and the formation of a new labor caucus. then, south carolina democratic
congressman james clyburn on this week's democratic leadership elections. congressmanblican warren davidson on election results and the u.s. response to covid-19. watch c-span's washington journal, live at 7:00 eastern friday morning. join the conversation with your phone calls, fake -- facebook messages, texts and tweets. coming up friday, the u.s. house returns at 9:00 a.m. eastern. on c-span two at 9:00 a.m., the house armed services committee holds a hearing on the u.s. mission in afghanistan raid witnesses include ryan crocker, former u.s. ambassador to afghanistan. vice president mike pence is in georgia for campaign --nts for senators david do senators david perdue and kelly loeffler, who face runoff elections in january.
and the house here's testimony from the irs commissioner. >> denis mcdonough, former chief of chaff president obama, talks about national security challenges at an event sponsored by the center for strategic and international studies. this event is 45 minutes. >> good evening, -- good morning, everybody in washington. good evening, everybody in korea. welcome to the 15th addition, brought to you by the good folks at kia motors. this week on the capital cable, u.s. foreign policy, u.s. elections, biden-harris transitions and their implications for korea and northeast asia. our guest this week, perfectly positioned to address this critical and evolving set of issues with not just implications in washington, not just implications in seoul, but implications around the world .