Gretchen Whitmer Angers GOP By Using Science
Michigan’s governor gets abuse while presiding over one of nation’s most successful COVID-19 recoveries
On August 4, the President criticized her for not throwing open the floodgates, while the state GOP whined about how long she has kept Michigan in a state of emergency.
Whitmer, though, has an easy defense to the criticism: success.
During the three months of meteorological summer — June, July, and August — Michigan was one of the few positive stories during America’s disastrous response to the pandemic. In that span, Whitmer’s state had 101 deaths for every million residents (DPM) and 5,149 confirmed cases per million (CCPM). Both rates were less than half the national summer averages of 234 DPM and 12,591 CCPM.
Whitmer has consistently opposed the White House’s coronavirus strategy throughout the last six months, drawing enough of Trump’s ire to be considered a strong vice-presidential candidate. She has stuck with the plan her administration created with scientific input, even when armed protestors broke into the state house.
That has come as a sharp contrast to the performance of the federal government, where Trump’s hunger for power has overshadowed any serious attempt at containing the pandemic.
Michigan’s performance especially shines compared to states that took the President’s strong encouragement to open as quickly as possible. Mississippi (589 DPM) and Arizona (567) had death rates more than five times that of Michigan, while Louisiana (470), South Carolina (438), and Florida (415) are at least four times as high.
The same is true of case rates. Florida (26,736 CCPM), Arizona (25,037), Louisiana (23,344), Mississippi (22,793), Alabama (22,268), and Georgia (21,173) all recorded case rates at least four times higher than Michigan.
In fact, only four states — West Virginia, Maine, Vermont, and Wyoming — outperformed Michigan on both measures.
The star of the summer, by any measure, was Vermont. They had the nation’s lowest death rate at 5 DPM — that’s three deaths in three months — and the lowest case rate at 1,047 CCPM. That was a sign of regional success in northern New England. Maine (32 DPM, 1,636 CCPM) finished 50th in both categories, while New Hampshire was 49th in case rate (1,922 CCPM) but only 31st in death rate (138 DPM).
The drop in case rate extended across the northeast. New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut were the only states to reach 1,000 DPM by the end of May but had the best summer case rates other than their three New England neighbors.
They were not equally successful in terms of death rate, though. New York (126 DPM) finished 32nd and Connecticut (141) was 30th, but Maryland (300) and New Jersey (305) finished 11th and 10th. Rhode Island fits in as well, ending summer ranked 37th in cases but ninth in deaths at 316.
Along with the states already mentioned, Texas (6th in death rate, 8th in case rate) struggled badly in the summer, while Oregon (46th in death rate, 40th in case rate) was another success.
There’s also reason to be concerned about some of the states that completely avoided the spring wave. Montana, Alaska, and Hawaii all had fewer than 1,000 cases per million inhabitants during March, April, and May, but had summer spikes to 6,545 CCPM, 6,609, and 5,654, respectively.
How will things change in the fall? One early trend seems to be holding — Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire combined for one death in the first week of September.
All stats via Worldometers.